Simple Ways to Be More Environmentally Sustainable
I hope everyone is surviving the end of Term . Can you believe it?! I don’t even remember Christmas happening. Anyways, that’s for another time!
This post is a really quick and simple one, because it’s the end of term and like many of you I am basically drowning in work and assignments, and have an exam tomorrow (yes, apparently there are March exams) that I should be revising for, but we all need a break!
It was Green Week at Warwick last week, but we can talk about being green at any time! Some of these may seem really basic, but it all makes the difference!
1. INVEST in a WHITEBOARD (for Revision)
This has been one of my favourite revision strategies since coming to uni. There’s usually not enough time for nice posters and way too much info for flashcards (besides concepts). Instead, I like to get a whiteboard and blurt out everything I know from a lecture/ sections of a lecture. You can see yourself becoming more familiar with the material as eventually you will get to a point where you have all the information from a whole lecture on one board and won’t have to wipe it clean for each section. Unfortunately, it only works as an initial making sure you know the info technique or for modules where the content is quite ridged, and the answer is either correct or not (like Psychobiology). When it comes to applying understanding in work like essays, it’s probably best to actually write on paper, but I guess it’s still nice to save paper when you can to compensate for the guilt of printing so much.
2. CANVAS / RESUABLE BAG
It’s really not necessary to buy a plastic bag every time you got shopping and have them pile up. A canvas bag or life-long bag is much more efficient. They last longer, are stronger, and the straps won’t hurt your hands or shoulder when your carrying shopping home over a long distance (all students know the feeling)! Always get a couple so that there will always be one in your bag when you need it.
3. COTTON BAGS/ NETS
I don’t actually know what they are called, but you know those little net bags that you can use to put your vegetables in when you go shopping? Again, so that you don’t have to keep using those plastic bags only to throw them away once you get home.
4. Buy CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS
A quick note on this one: not all cruelty products are vegan, so be careful with this. Another thing to note is that whilst certain brands are cruelty-free, their ‘parent company’ may still engage in animal testing.
Cruelty-free means that neither the raw materials or final product are tested on animals and the company doesn’t sell to countries (China being the biggest one) or third parties where animal testing is compulsory.
If this is something that you are interest in here are some websites which and who list brands which are or are not (although there will often be discrepancies):
· Leaping Bunny – They are an internationally recognised program and are products verified with the familiar leaping bunny logo you may see. They also have an app if you want to quickly check the status of brands whilst shopping.
· PETA – Another famous one that you are probably familiar with. Have a really long list of products that do and don’t test on animals. You can download this and keep in your your phone for reference.
· Cruelty Free Kitty – This one is a blog. Likewise, they also have lists but also detail common mistakes when attempting to buy cruelty-free.
5. RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE!
Sounds pretty trivial but we don’t always realise how complicated it can be to make sure that you are placing things are recyclable into the recycling bin. I guess the key thing here is to always double check the labelling (sometimes only part of the packaging can be recycled so you have to separate the materials or you find that something which you have been throwing into general waste is actually recyclable), don’t be lazy (i.e.: walk to the recycling bin!), and please clean out dirty jars before you chuck them in and contaminate the rest of the litter.
6. SWITCH OFF PLUG SOCKETS!
Turn off plug sockets if they are not being used. It’s really simple to do. I’m going to admit that I am that one housemate who will make sure that plug sockets are turned off if they aren’t being used (anyone else?). It’s good to keep an eye out for your own safety as well. Also, we are students after all, so finance!
7. Buy SECOND-HAND
If there’s one tip I would give prospective students about textbooks (or books in general), it’s to never buy them new. Unless it’s on a topic that you’re really interested in or will need throughout your course, you probably won’t ever use it again. Also, no matter how hard you try to keep your textbooks looking neat, you will eventually accept that they are going to get somewhat trashed – kind of like how we feel by the end of each term. They are SO much cheaper so there’s the finance side to it there.
I wasn’t aware of this, but the SU puts on a second-hand cookery sale at the beginning of each academic year, so instead of dragging a load of kitchen utensils with you, you can get them on campus! Then there’s the clothing sales which you have probably come across at some point if that’s something you’re interest in as well.
8. DONATE Unwanted Things
I believe that any unwanted cookery items or suitable food is collected at the end of the academic year and termly in on-campus halls so keep an eye out for that if you’re living on campus. There’s always Food Banks which need stocking up as well and charity shops.
9. REUSABLE BOTTLE
You probably have one already, but if you don’t, get one! I know that a lot of people are cautious of drinking water straight from the tap, but you can easily boil water, get hold of a jug that will hold hot water and allow it to cool down. I like to do this every night so I can fill my bottle up the next day. Having a bottle is also a good way to track your water consumption. If you happen to be a prospective Psychology student, look out for a time to collect your Psychology mug (which I didn’t manage to pick up ☹)!
10. REDUCING MEAT & DAIRY CONSUMPTION
I’m not going to sit here and say completely go vegetarian or vegan because that’s completely your choice but reducing your meat and/or diary consumption is a good start. How about trying a few vegetarian and/ or vegan days a week? It will force you to experiment and be more creative with food more and come across some nice alternatives (which may become part of your daily routine) for getting nutrients that you would otherwise get from meat or diary products. You may find it much easier than you initially expected it to be. Price is a key concern, and it can be expensive but as with all things, you will learn along the way. Just be open minded to trying it out, even if it’s just a couple of days a week.
That’s that for this post. It was a reminder of all the very simple things that you can do to do your part.
Before I go: Remember to take a well-desevred break once the term is over before you dive into revision 🙂