5 Ways To Become a More Sustainable University Student

For a busy university student, it can sometimes feel like an added pressure to lead a more sustainable life – I get it! However, it does not have to be like that. Living sustainably does not mean that you have to give up things you enjoy! It simply means seeking more sustainable options and making a few small swaps. You are probably thinking where to even begin! Well, here are 5 simple things you can do to become a more sustainable university student.

1. Reduce printing

We all know that feeling of becoming overwhelmed at the start of semester and falling into the trap of printing everything that is given to us – and more! If you are wanting to practice more sustainable habits, try making the switch to taking notes on your laptop. To cut down on paper waste, remember to only print when necessary and ensure you use both sides of the paper. Another tip for cutting down on paper wastage, is purchasing an e-book version of your textbooks or borrowing it from the library.

2. Reduce Plastic Waste

One of the biggest challenges to becoming a sustainable student is reducing single use plastic. Being a fast-paced environment, most campus’ build their products around convenience. Fortunately, reusable alternatives are much more accessible than they once were.

  • Bring Lunch from Home to avoid buying products with unnecessary plastic and packaging;
  • Say no to plastic straws;
  • Bring a reusable water bottle from home; and
  • Buy some good quality pens with refillable ink (available from Officeworks).

3. Bring a Reusable Coffee Cup

Did you know that Australians use an alarming 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year? This means that approximately 2,700,000 being thrown away each day, ending up in landfill [i]. Like many other students, does your day start off with a takeaway cup of coffee from your local campus cafe? There is one easy switch you can make to eliminate disposable coffee cups – bring your own reusable cup! There are plenty of options available from brands such as Keep Cup, rCup, Bryteka and many more. Most cafes are now jumping on board for a more sustainable future, by offering a discount to people who bring their own cup! What a great incentive.

4. Start Walking or Cycling

By walking, cycling or even carpooling for those longer trips, it reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Do you ever struggle getting in your 10,000 steps per day? Try walking to your classes or dust off that bike of yours! By driving less, there is also the added bonus of saving money on fuel! 

5. Ditch Fast Fashion

How many times have we convinced ourselves that we need a new outfit for every event and occasion? I’ve lost count! Why not make a day of it and go thrift shopping with your friends? You will be surprised with what you can find!

There are also so many incredible Australian brands that are doing their part for the environment. Check out:

  • Ocean Zen – create swimwear out of recycled plastics and fishing nets that have been retrieved from the ocean.
  • Spell Byron Bay – a bohemian brand focusing on creating clothing out of sustainable fibers and organic cotton.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the things we can do to lead a more sustainable life, let’s take it one step at a time. Remember, it is the small changes that can make a BIG impact. If we all contribute by committing to these changes, we can really make a difference and encourage a happy and healthier environment.

[i] Coffee Cups – University of Melbourne https://sustainablecampus.unimelb.edu.au/a-z/c/coffee-cups

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