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5 top tips on being an eco-friendly student

This article appears in: Study tips
Meg Parry - Environmental Sciences Honors student

We know: you’re studying, maybe working, maybe have a family, you socialise and have many, many commitments. Being green probably isn’t high on your priority list. But, it should be!

Why? It’s easy to make a few small changes that are good for the environment and good for the wallet. Let’s be honest, anything that saves money while you’re studying is going to be very handy.

1. Buy reusable products or products made of recycled content

There’s a great range of products available that are made from recycled content or can be reused over and over again. Here are some suggestions:

  • Show the trees some love and buy 100% recycled paper for printing. Better yet – don’t print at all. Type your notes or read via screen and save the environment the pollution and yourself the printing costs.
  • Fill your pencil case with good karma by filling it with pens and other stationary made from post-consumer waste.
  • Enough with the plastic bags! Use reusable and/or recycled bags. Can't get away from it? Some supermarkets provide facilities to recycle your soft plastics.
  • Can’t go without that coffee to fuel your study sesh? Invest in a CDU Keep Cup so you can look ridiculously cool as you sip your java. Some coffee shops will even charge you less if you bring your own reusable cup. Huzzah!
  • Make bottled water a thing of the past. Use reusable drinking bottles.

2. Recycle, recycle, recycle!

Think about all the paper you use for your lecture notes and assignments.  Now add  the take out containers, plastic water bottles, soft drink cans and snack food packaging from those late-night study sessions. In Australia, we’re lucky to have curb-side recycling in most areas, so make the most of it by placing your recyclable items in the right bin. Oh, and remember to take the bins out too (that’s the hardest part).  Check out Darwin City Council’s guide on recycling to brush up your recycling skills.

Recycling is more than just putting your papers and containers in the correct bin though. Think about your old clothes and study books: don’t throw them out – resell them and make some money back. If you don’t have time to sell your unwanted stuff, you can donate your good-quality clothing to your local second hand store.

Got a bunch of old textbooks you can’t be bothered selling? Check out student groups on Facebook and see if you can sell them, otherwise, donate them to Give Now.

3. Use sustainable transport

Gyms can be expensive, so work up a sweat by using  active modes of transport like walking or cycling. Public transport and carpooling are other a great sustainable options.

Some of the benefits of using sustainable transport: 

  • Increased capacity, and reduced congestion, in the overall transport network
  • Reduced environmental impacts
  • Improved public health and reduced healthcare costs
  • Improved community wellbeing and social cohesion.

Source: Enviro Collective CDU

4. Reduce your power usage

When it’s not in use, turn it off at the power point. Stand-by power wastage is a real thing! It’s easy to turn off your appliances off at the wall; your wallet and the earth will thank you. 

While you’re at it, turn off lights when you leave the room, and replace your old school light globes with energy-smart LED light bulbs. Fun fact: energy-saving LEDs will use approximately 1/5 the energy a regular globe use and will last longer. 

LED bulbs cost a bit more than normal bulbs, but you’ll see the savings in your electricity bill.

5. Buy local, eat local

Buying local and organic can sometimes be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Hit your local farmers market to buy fresh fruit and veg from your local region and you’ll also be supporting the local guys!

If you’re not worried about getting your hands dirty, why not grow your own fruit and veg? If you don’t have the space for a veggie patch,  get involved in your local community garden and make friends, expand your gardening knowledge and contribute to the community while you indulge your green thumb. If you’re in Darwin, check out CDU-supported Lakeside Drive Community Garden.

That's it! Remember, every little thing you do can make a difference! 

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