The University of Worcester is committed to sustainability, and was named Sustainability Institution of the Year at the Green Gown Awards in 2019! Student Blogger and Sustainability Ambassador, Claudia Gutierrez, talks us through her top tips for living more sustainably as a student:
Student life can be quite hectic sometimes – managing assignment work, preparation for lectures, social life, and volunteering or any part time jobs you might do on the side. Therefore, adding worrying about the environment on top of all that might seem quite overwhelming. However, as Go Green Week recently took place on campus it seems like a perfect opportunity to discuss eco-friendliness and how you can contribute to a sustainable future. Every little bit helps, and whether you believe it or not little changes become significant over time. So, let’s discuss ways that will help you create a more environmentally friendly lifestyle!
Choose to reuse
Over 1.7 billion people worldwide are now classified as “consumer class.” This can be characterised as group of individuals who aspire to higher levels of lifestyle and thus consume more. Naturally, high consumption can be beneficial for local economies, however, it also produces a higher amount of waste which consequently negatively impacts the environment. In my case, choosing reusable options whenever I can became an essential part of my life. It took me a few days to get used to the ‘’reusable mindset’’, but I promise it will become natural in a week or so.
The University sells reasonably priced reusable cups in the canteen which come in various colour combinations and patterns, so I’m sure everyone will find their favourite! Moreover, University canteen and cafés offer a discount for using reusable cups or drinking in. Since the University catering services introduced this discount in September 2019, we saved approximately 18,000 plastic cups – see? Every little bit helps!
For those who want to be more environmentally involved, I would recommend considering purchasing reusable straws and water bottles – both significantly help reduce usage of single use plastic, which negatively impacts the environment.
Need a new outfit? Try secondhand!
Fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, as it relies on the constant production of new clothes that people wear for only a few months. So, what better way to express your individuality than shopping second hand? When someone says second hand, many of us think of charity shops. Charity shops are great, however, my ultimately favourite place to buy second hand is Vinted.
Vinted is an app where you can buy pre-owned or vintage clothes rather than buying new from a fast fashion website. Often, I manage to buy brand new clothes for half retail price. This way you can save some money and the environment at the same time. Moreover, the app allows you to sell your clothes too, so you can make a bit of cash on the side.
Let’s be honest for a moment, using makeup wipes is by all means the most convenient way to remove make up for a lot of people. Especially when you come home from class, meetings or socials as it makes only a few seconds to remove your makeup. However, 93% of blocked UK sewage pipes are caused by wet wipes, and even if you’re sensible enough to not flush them – they still end up in landfill. By investing in a reusable face cloth, you can prevent disposable wipes going to landfill plus it turns out makeup wipes are not good for your skin. Moreover, reusable make-up cloths are more affordable in the long run, I bought five cloths online for £3.50 in September and they still work! The only thing you need to do once you remove your makeup is to throw the reusable cloths in the washing machine, let them dry and they are ready for the next use!
One of the advantages of studying and living in Worcester is that St Johns and City campus are only 15 minutes away from each other, which means that the town centre campuses and the main campus are walk-able distances from each other. I try to walk as much as possible, however, I understand that using public transport might be quicker and more convenient! On the other hand, using public transport, or your own car everyday can become quite pricey. Therefore, if you are looking for a cheaper yet convenient way, I would recommend looking into the University’s Woo Bike Share scheme. You can borrow a bike for as little as £45 per year. Recently the University started offering electric bikes which look cool too!
That’s all for now, but I’ll be writing regular sustainability tips and ideas over the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!