The Verse’s Cheyenne Eugene lets us know of 15 easy ways to help save the planet.
Remember last month when everyone was awkwardly walking around in sandals in the middle of February? It was just an emotionally uncomfortable week; one half of you was overjoyed to see an old friend, the sun, whilst the other half of you tried to block out the feeling of the impending doom of the climate crisis.
Our faux complaints when it finally started raining again when inside our only sigh was of relief. I think that
might have shocked some of us into action.
In the wake of the recent Global Youth Strike 4 Climate Change, I thought it would be useful to have a list of easy changes you can implement into your own life to help save the planet; one paper straw at a time.
- AVOID NON RECYCLABLE FOOD PACKAGING
I’m sorry that I’m having to badmouth the beloved Aldi when it’s been there for the times we only had £7.28 in our account and needed some nourishment. However, Aldi is infamous for its sheer amount of non-recyclable packaging. Finding supermarkets which offer more loose fruit and veg that aren’t cased in plastic is a fast way to reduce your plastic and film consumption.
Here’s a current petition you can sign to ban the use of non-recyclable packaging.
- CUT DOWN ON MEAT
You don’t necessarily need to become a vegetarian or vegan to do your part towards lowering meat consumption. Just cutting back will have a drastic effect. Being more creative and thoughtful about what you eat is a guaranteed way to make you a better home chef (a pretty grand title for a student).
Follow some veggie/vegan blogs, my favourites are:
- EAT LOCALLY
Farmers markets are the best way to avoid large carbon dioxide and monoxide outputs that come with transporting food and are a great way to support local businesses.
Here are 2 farmers markets that I have visited in Brighton and recommend:
- BUY A CHEAP SECOND-HAND BIKE
Get onto Gumtree, eBay or Facebook Marketplace and grab a bike for as little as £25. Summer is fast approaching and it’s a great way to save on that hefty £3.60 bus ticket.
- DON’T OVER CONSUME
Plan your meals to avoid waste. Weekly meal plans not only reduce waste but also help save money for the tight student budget.
Don’t buy clothes you know you’ll only wear once. It’s odd how irresistible something becomes just because it ‘Was: £20. Now: £5’ even though it’s 4 sizes too big for you and is absolutely not your colour. However, think about what you actually need!
- THINK SUSTAINABILITY
This includes a whole host of items from food to clothing to electrical goods.
Avocados are a prime example of foods which are completely unsustainable for us to carry on consuming at the rate that we do. We appear to think that we are entitled to all kinds of fruits and goodies from around the world. However, do we know the social and climate cost of growing and transporting them?
Channel your inner O.A.P and grow some veggies in your garden; I’m talking tomatoes, carrots, basil, the whole shebang.
- GO CHARITY SHOPPING OR CLOTHES SWAPPING
‘Fast fashion’ is a throw-away culture of cheap clothing that is disposed of after a short period and was responsible for 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted in 2015. Companies such as Boohoo and ASOS are being identified as major retailers who endorse fast fashion.
Charity shopping not only allows you to find some of your favourite clothes for a couple of £s but you are counteracting the detrimental effects of fast fashion (and giving to a good cause). Now you don’t need to feel so bad about your awful shopping habit.
Clothes swaps are another way to recycle your clothes, find some on Facebook or host one with friends. This is a discreet way to finally get your hands on your friend’s coveted top you’ve had your eyes on all these years.
Did you know that you can take ANY old materials and clothes to H&M and get a five-pound voucher for each bag?
- REDUCE HOUSEHOLD ENERGY USE
Just turn the lights off in unoccupied hallways and bathrooms and you go up and down the stairs each day.
Turning off sockets when they’re not in use, eg: phone and laptop chargers.
- BUY A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
This will cut back your plastic consumption drastically.
Or, keep-cups for ~coffee luvers~ (you get discounts at a lot of coffee shops for bringing in your own mug now).
- USE YOUR VOICE
March, campaign, sign petitions.
- BE PREPARED
Carry around a canvas bag rolled up inside your own to avoid using plastic bags.
Take a fork/spoon in your bag with you to avoid using plastic ones.
You could also bring your own lunch to Uni to avoid having to buy plastic wrapped food.
- GO PAPERLESS
As a student, this can easily be done by using your laptop to take notes or using online flashcards rather than paper. View your bank statement online instead of printed; you can feel a little better for saving the planet after sobbing over your bank balance.
- FOR THOSE OF US WITH PERIODS, BUY MENSTRUATION CUPS.
The average pack of pads has the equivalent amount of plastic as 4 plastic bags. Menstruation cups can last up to 10 years and can be bought for as little as £5 from most reliable manufacturers.
If you’re more comfortable with tampons, try and find ones with cardboard applicators as opposed to plastic, they’re often cheaper.
- GO MAKE UP FREE EVERY NOW AND THEN
You’ll use less makeup and so will buy less make-up and produce less waste. Makeup production, from ingredients to testing to transport, impact the lives of animals, the environment and other humans.
Having makeup-less days are also beneficial for your skin and double up as an extra 20-minute lie-in too.
When you are using makeup, you’ll find a lot of alternatives for some of the disposable products you use too. Reusable cotton pads that go in the wash are one example.
Saving your planet may seem like an overwhelming task but some small changes will make a world of difference (no pun intended).