Cait Rhodes offers students five easy ways to reduce waste and contribute to a greener society.
Climate change seems to be a problem that, even if you tried, could not be better deigned to inspire human apathy. The effects will only be felt in the distant future, they’ll probably happen to other people before they happen to us and anything we do will only act as a drop in the ocean. For students especially, remembering which coloured recycling your polystyrene box from Jason’s is meant to go in at 3 am, or convincing your flatmates that a compost heap really is the only place for their week old Domino's, can be hard.
It's not how we dispose of our waste, it's reducing the amount of it all together
Luckily, in 1996, John Tierney, a writer for the New York Times, published a paper in which he concluded that recycling may be “the most wasteful activity in modern America”. He explained that recycling can be many times more costly than sending waste to landfill, and often has very little environmental impact. Tierney stresses that modern society’s biggest issue is the amount we consume in the first place. In other words, it’s not how we dispose of our waste, it’s reducing the amount of it all together.
Here are 5 (hopefully) easy ways of reducing the amount you waste, which can help make a difference without requiring much effort at all:
- Online shop!
As if you needed another reason to fill up your Misguided basket, but a study done by Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University has found that online shopping can use up to 30% less energy than traditional shopping methods. This is mainly due to the fuel efficiency of one vehicle delivering many items over each customer making their own trip to the shop.
i hate when i’m studying and then all of the sudden i’ve been online shopping for two hours— ♚SENIORS♚ (@KidsOf2018) February 26, 2018
2.Get a BHA-free water bottle.
It takes 3 litres of water and a quarter of a litre of oil to produce a one-litre bottle of water , leading to 17 million barrels of oil being used each year in the production of disposable water bottles. Whether you’ve been needing an excuse to buy a Love Island customised bottle, or you need a motivational quote to get you through your legs, bums and tums sesh, grab one of these and remember to take it everywhere!
3.Buy in bulk.
If you want to help the environment, and are also already dangerously approaching your overdraft this term, buying in bulk is a great way to cut down on plastic packaging. If you’re currently living off of pasta five nights a week diet, you can buy larger bags which not only save money, but also have far less packaging than the equivalent amount in several smaller bags. Bonus student and helping-the-environment points if you also end up having plain pasta most of the time because you forget to buy sauce.
If coffee is all that gets you through the day at uni, then a travel mug is another great way to save money and to help the environment. Pret, Costa and Greggs all offer discounts on cups of coffee if you bring your own reusable cup in (50p, 25p and 20p respectively). Source cafes on campus also offer discounts, meaning if you drink enough coffee you could save the cost of the cup in a few weeks- and help the environment at the same time.
5.Have friends over for dinner.
Who can actually say they regularly (or ever tbh) measure out the right amount of pasta for one person? Cooking for one if often very wasteful, so cooking meals as a house or inviting friends over for dinner can be a great way to reduce your waste without having to eat spaghetti bolognaise with 3 peoples’ worth of pasta every night for a week.
These are just a few ways of the many ways you can go greener at your time in university and save a few pounds as well!
Featured Image: Unsplash: Štefan Štefančík