Sustainable six: tips to becoming a greener student

Small changes in different areas of your life can help to cut food waste, shrink energy consumption and reduce plastic use, say experts at Loughborough University

October 1 2019
Sustainable six: tips to becoming a more sustainable student

It seems that being sustainable is just one more thing that students have to remember to do alongside reading and coursework, getting work experience, socialising and staying healthy.

But it might not be as tricky or time-consuming as you think.

I’ve spoken to a variety of experts at Loughborough University and have collated their top tips for being more sustainable in daily life.



1. Food waste

Did you know that food waste can be just as damaging for the environment as the plastic packaging it comes in? And wasting food wastes money, too.

I spoke to Elliot Woolley, senior lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough, about the best way to cut food waste in the home. To keep waste to a minimum, his key advice includes:

  • Planning your meals
  • Purchasing only what you need and avoiding deals that tempt you to buy more
  • Storing food properly
  • Understanding the difference between “best before” and “use by” dates
  • Cooking only what you’re going to eat
  • Putting away leftovers safely and remembering to eat them.

I have found that using a meal planning template is a great way to outline my meals and help me reduce food waste.

2. Plastics and other unsustainable materials

I love going to the beach, but unfortunately every time I go, I come across pieces of rubbish littering the shore.

Rhoda Trimingham, an expert in sustainable design, has pointed out simple changes that can be made in the home to shrink plastic use:

  • Opt for reusable water bottles, coffee cups and metal straws (you can get straws that fold up and clip on to your bag for when you go out)
  • Swap bottled products for solid shampoo and soap; keep an eye out for refillable make-up, and switch to reusable bamboo wipes and cloths
  • Prepare food at home and take a lunch box rather than buying products that come in packaging. Choose reusable cutlery
  • Use reusable shopping bags, and keep one on you at all times – you never know when you’ll need it
  • Make cleaning products at home to cut out unnecessary packaging and plastic. You can make a multi-purpose cleaner by mixing water, white vinegar and essential oils in a reusable spray bottle. An abundance of recipes for cleaning products can be found online.

3. Recycling

Recycling can often be confusing, so Loughborough University’s environmental manager Nik Hunt advises:

  • Checking out local arrangements for recycling through the council website and/or your university website
  • Make sure recyclable products are clean and dry before putting them in the bin
  • Take your own containers and bags to supermarkets when buying food
  • Separate food waste where schemes exist – or see if you can create your own compost.

4. Fashion

Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, as it relies on the constant production of new garments that people wear only once or twice. So what better way to express your individuality and combat climate change than finding your unique look in charity shops?

This is one of textile expert Chetna Prajapati’s top tips. Here’s what else she recommends to keep your wardrobe stylish and sustainable:

  • Identify gaps in your wardrobe before going shopping to reduce impulse buying and purchasing duplicate items. Try to choose quality over quantity
  • If you’re going to wear an item only once, consider hiring, renting or leasing clothing
  • Buy from brands that support sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes. Choose items that have been produced using renewable natural fibres or sustainably sourced fibres
  • Buy pre-owned or vintage clothes rather than new. Extend the life of your clothes by donating unwanted items to charity and second-hand shops. If clothes are heavily worn or damaged, they can be recycled
  • Read care labels; try to avoid washing garments unnecessarily; and where possible wash at 30°C and line dry. Look to repair and alter items to extend their lifespan.

5. Heat and energy

Ben Roberts, a research associate looking at the development of smart meter technologies, offers these tips to reduce energy use at home:

  • Set a timer/schedule to heat rooms and flats only when you need to
  • Don’t leave windows open when the heating is on or when you are out
  • Turn appliances and devices off properly rather than leaving them on standby. Change any incandescent lightbulbs to energy-saving ones such as LED bulbs
  • When looking for a new student house, try to find one with good insulation and double glazing. This will help you save money and energy.

6. Travelling

Elliot Brown, Loughborough’s sustainable travel officer, recommends:

  • Leaving your car at home and cycling or walking everywhere
  • Using public transport – and being sure to check out the money-saving deals that bus and train companies offer students.

Most universities have an environmental society, a shop, a volunteering project that you can get involved with. If not, you can be the one to set it up.

These are just some small ways that you can become more sustainable in many different areas of your life.

Read more: The student guide to sustainability

Reader's comments (1)

I am Mrs. Dora Pless from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, and i love him so much we have been married for 4 years now with three kids. when he went for a vacation to Singapore he meant a lady called STEPHANIE, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my friend miss joy and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr. Ugo Wonders who is man of God for her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. Miss joy ask me to contact Dr. Ugo Wonders I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the God of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great MAN OF God did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr. Ugo Wonders on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his EMAIL contact: generalspelltemple@gmail.com or call him on  +1 386-336-9876

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Study Business & Management

Study Computer Science

Study Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Study Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Study Accounting & Finance

Study Biological Sciences