Preparing for university is an incredibly exciting time, and a fantastic opportunity to make some eco-friendly choices and changes! Whether you’re heading to uni yourself this autumn, or know somebody who will be, check out the following tips on how to prepare for a sustainable university experience.
1. Plan your commute
If you can’t find accommodation in the local area that would make university accessible by foot, be sure to check out bus routes in advance to prevent any last minute taxi runs! Student bus pass deals vary from city to city too, so it’s definitely worth doing your research on these early to save both money and emissions.
If biking is your thing, take time to scope out whether your new local area will be cycling accessible. With constant trips between campus and accommodation on the horizon, uni is the perfect time to take up the hobby!
2. Furnish wisely
Decorating a new apartment is surely one of the highlights of moving out for the first time, but did you know that at universities across the globe this causes a ginormous amount of waste, with masses of student furnishings being either thrown out or damaged every year?
Straight from the mouth of EcoVibe’s Megs, who’s just about to enter her final year; “no matter how much you think your stuff is going to be an investment, it isn't and won’t be. Things you buy for your uni housing are always going to get lost, stolen or broken!”. So, simply put – don’t waste a tonne on brand new furniture, and instead opt for secondhand options!
By shopping at secondhand stores and online sites like Facebook Marketplace, you’ll find cheaper furnishings that won’t break any hearts when one too many drinks gets spilled - and all whilst contributing to a circular economy! 😊
3. Buy sustainable home essentials ready in advance
Having essentials like cleaning products and self-care items ready to take with you to your new abode makes moving in infinitely easier. There’s so much to think about when moving out for the first time, and it’s ridiculously easy to forget something minor like dish sponges or toothpaste until the minute you need them!
For ultimate ease and eco-consciousness, we recommend the Fresh Start Kit, which has all the cleaning and selfcare essentials necessary for your new home in one neat bundle!
Cleaning especially can be a minefield for those moving out for the first time, and eco-friendly supplies are much harder to find than their mainstream equivalents (which, may we add, massively harm the environment). This kit is one simple purchase that covers all bases. It’ll ensure that, if nothing else, you’ll have the staples ready the minute you move in.
4. And ditto for on-the-go essentials
For university living, being prepared with eco-friendly, on-the-go essentials is almost as important as furnishings and bigger picture items. As you’ll be splitting your time between different lecture halls, libraries and accommodation, eco-friendly heroes like reusable food storage containers/wraps, water bottles and hot drinks flasks are absolutely essential for avoiding on-the-go plastic. These will quickly become some of your most used items, so they’re definitely worth the eco-investment!
5. Check out what green clubs and policies your university offers
Each university will have it’s own range of environmental policies and clubs. If you’re feeling keen, do some research in advance to find out what your uni currently offers, and how you can get involved. Some unis may let you volunteer with their sustainability team to carry out green audits, or participate in initiatives such as composting. If options are limited, you can also start your own club!
6. Find out recycling rules for your new local council
Recycling rules can vary drastically from city to city, and even within the same county. Make sure you’re aware of the rules in your new area, and spread the word to your flatmates. You can look these up on governmental websites – a good idea is to print them off and pin them to your kitchen wall where everybody can be reminded on the daily, meaning you don't have to keep reminding them yourself!
7. Avoid buying textbooks firsthand
A common misconception when starting uni is that buying new textbooks is an absolute must. In reality in the UK however, this really isn’t the case. Most textbooks are available at your library, and a large portion of these you'll only ever need to use sparingly. If you’d like to own your own textbooks we encourage you to check out World of Books and Abe Books, both of which resell previously owned copies (and remember, you can always sell yours again for extra money on Facebook Marketplace 😊).
8. Build your uni wardrobe the sustainable way
Last but not least, we know that expressing your individual style may be super important to you, so this is your friendly reminder that this is possible without fast fashion! Vintage and secondhand clothing apps like Depop and Vinted make sustainable clothes shopping easier than ever, whilst almost all major cities and university towns have regular vintage fairs. Every piece of clothing bought secondhand makes a huge difference, and is friendlier on your student wallet to boot!
We hope you found these tips useful, and if you have any of your own that you'd like to add we'd love to hear them in the comments below! While you're here, be sure to browse the rest of our blog for more eco ideas and tips.