How to Live Sustainably at University

Here are some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint 👇

Climate change is happening, there's no denying it. It’s going to affect today’s youth the most, which is why we love students who are passionate about sustainable living.

Doing your bit for the environment doesn’t need a lot of time, or a big lifestyle overhaul. Plus, it can mean more £££ in your pocket (and a serious feel good factor)! Here's how you can make a difference.

Go plastic free

Ditch the single-use plastic and get a reusable water bottle. This'll encourage you to keep more hydrated, and can even be a fashion statement in itself. Check out the best reusable bottles, and find your nearest water station by downloading the Refill app.

We know vodka and cokes just aren't the same without a straw, so ditch the single-use plastic and soggy paper straws to invest in good quality metal one. The world’s sea life will thank you, as standard straws can cause significant damage to our oceans (plus, it'll save some cash in the long run).

Since the 5p charge came into force, the usage of single-use plastic bags has fallen by 86%! Plus, it's reduced the number of carrier bags going to landfill by over 6 billion. So, grab some reusable shopping bags every time you shop. 

If you’re keen to make the stride into ditching plastic for good, check out The Plastic Free Shop for innovative alternatives to everyday household essentials.

Food and drink

Did you know that 5,000 disposable cups are used every minute in the UK? If you can’t function in the morning without a caffeine fix, it’s worth carrying a reusable coffee cup with you. Many of the big coffee chains offer discounts or extra loyalty points for those who use them in their stores.

Rather than shopping in large supermarkets (which often use unnecessary packaging), why not try shopping locally? Markets, butchers and fruit and veg shops often use recyclable paper bags instead of plastic. Better yet, why not take your own containers along and ditch the waste all together?

Wherever you can, it’s best to buy family packs or larger containers of your favourite foods. Buying in bulk for cereal, coffee or sauces often means less packaging, and more product for your money. You could agree to share with housemates to make sure it'll be consumed by the use-by date.

Introducing one vegan day a week is a great way to cut your meat intake and carbon footprint, whilst also encouraging you to eat healthier. Check out Meat Free Monday to get loads of Insta-worthy recipe inspo from celebrity endorsers Stella McCartney, Sir Richard Branson and Gwyneth Paltrow. 


The UK is far from warm, and we all need the heating on to keep us toastie throughout the winter. Instead of turning up the thermostat, throw on an oversized jumper instead, or snuggle under a blanket. We'd recommend you keep your heating below 21 degrees to help the planet (and your pocket).

Energy used to heat up the water for your washing machine could be unnecessary if you're washing on a high heat. Washing at 30 degrees, more often than not, does just as good a job. Ask your housemates if they have any washing to throw in with yours, rather than running the cycle half empty. Give your laundry a fresh smell by hanging it out on an outdoor washing line rather than using a tumble dryer too.

It’s tempting to jump into a steaming hot shower when you’re forced to leave the comfort of your bed in a morning. But a cold shower isn't as bad as it sounds. Not only will it keep your energy consumption down, but it'll work wonders for your skin, as hot water can strip away natural oils and dry it out. Leaving hair to dry naturally is also much better for it than blasting with the hair dryer. Who knew?!


Stop junk mail in its tracks by sticking a “No Junk Mail” sign close to your letter box. Unless there's a new takeaway opening up next door, we don’t want to hear about it, plus it saves on wasted paper.

Moving to a new city throws all sorts of hurdles your way, but make sure you know what the bins are for at your new student pad. If you’re unsure of when bin day is, or what you can and can’t recycle, make sure to find out on your local councils’ website. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a mountain of rubbish in the back yard and, inevitably, rats. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!


If you’re without a car, be smug in the fact that you’re causing less harmful emissions than your petrol-headed peers. But, even getting the bus to uni is second on the lazy list. Swap just one journey a week to either walking, running or cycling, and you can do wonders for the environment, your health and your pocket. 

Clothing and beauty

-We live in a world where cheap, disposable fashion has become the norm. Most people wouldn’t think twice about buying an outfit just to wear it once. Yet, this is devastating for the countries manufacturing the garments, and it just isn’t sustainable. Find a treasure in a charity shop and make sure your money is going to a good cause, or borrow from your good friends and for endless outfits.

If your wardrobe is bursting at the seams but you still don’t have anything to wear, it’s time to sell your pre-loved clothes online. Check out this article for tips in doing so and best sites to sell on.

Do you know where your clothes are made? Do your cosmetics have non-sustainable palm oil listed in the ingredients? Before you click check out, do a little research into your fave brands. Make sure that, as a consumer, you’re doing all you can to protect the world we live in. Any good retailer should be open and transparent about where they manufacture their goods. This article has the inside information on the most ethical designer and high street brands.

As you make the move towards living a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to share your newfound knowledge with family and friends. This way, they can implement similar changes to help reduce environmental impact and the effects of climate change. Happy recycling!

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