Living sustainably as a student can seem challenging; often non environmentally friendly options are cheaper and easier to find. However, young people are increasingly active and interested in shopping sustainably and one of their biggest concerns entering the job market regards working for a company with ethical values. As a student, I’ve compiled a short list of some of my top tips on how to live, work, and eat responsibly! 

Shop Second-Hand

 Avoiding fast fashion as a student is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. The rise in second-hand clothing apps, including Vinted and Depop, allows young people to purchase pre-owned fashion at an affordable price. Students utilise these platforms to buy and sell their favourite brands of anything from jumpers and jeans to bags and bracelets! Steering clear of high street shops has also become more accessible with the rising trend of charity shopping. Harborne – a short walk away from the student areas in Birmingham – is famous for its extensive street of second-hand, charity shops. One student’s rubbish is another student’s treasure! 

Reach for Reusable

Reusable products have recently become the way forward. On campus, coffee shops offer discounts for students with refillable coffee cups – and places sell them in a variety of quirky designs and colours. Heading to Aldi with your reusable tote bags not only helps the environment but will also save you a bit of money each time you get your groceries! The easing of lockdown restrictions has also allowed for the re-opening of pubs and restaurants – so be sure to pack a reusable metal straw in your handbag rather than sipping on soggy paper ones.

Buy Behavioural Beauty Brands

Ethical and sustainable beauty products are certainly on the rise. As a student who is keen to shop responsibly, my favourite ethical beauty brands include Ethique, Faith in Nature, and Bolt Beauty. We Are Wild is also a highly recommended sustainable natural deodorant brand, which offers plastic-free refills in fragrances such as Orange Zest and Mint & Eucalyptus. Reusable makeup wipes are also a great buy if you’re looking to both save money and reduce your plastic usage as a student.

Manage a Meat-Free Month

 Eating mainly vegan or plant-based is becoming increasingly easier for young people. Sticking to a student budget becomes more manageable when you remove expensive foods such as chicken, beef, and fish from your weekly shop. Student-friendly supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl offer great vegan ready-meal options, plant-based ice creams, a variety of dairy-free milks and a broad range of veggies too! If you’re looking to start a vegan diet, remember that it doesn’t just have to be in January when you manage a meat-free month!

Switch to Strolling

Walking around is a great way to exercise, cut costs, and help the environment. Rather than driving down the road to the shops or campus, why not call a friend to catch up and walk there together, maybe grab a takeaway coffee on the way? Cycling is another easy and environmentally friendly way to get around, and Birmingham has great public transport options too – if a vehicle is necessary! In and around the student areas of the city, there are lovely places to go for a stroll, including Moseley Park, Edgbaston Reservoir, Bournville, and Cannon Hill Park.

Join a sustainable society

As a student myself, I’ve realised University societies are the best way to get involved with causes and hobbies that really interest you. At the University of Birmingham, the UoB Plastic Free society organises group litter picking walks around Selly Oak and the surrounding areas in a collective effort to battle climate change. Their active Instagram page similarly offers students regular tips and tricks on how to make environmentally friendly switches to their student life!

Hopefully, these six simple tips have helped you realise living sustainably as a student can be simple and that these switches can often save you money, too! 

This blog was first published by Lily Cratchley  on 13th December 2021