Sustainable living at uni

Becoming more environmentally aware, and having a sustainable lifestyle is something that as a population, we striving towards achieving. Being more eco-friendly can have the perception of being more expensive, but that doesn’t have to always be the case. This blog will go through 10 ways in which you can help the environment when living at University!

University of Surrey, Stag Hill Campus Lake.

1- Give clothing a new lease of life!

Selling clothing that you no longer wear and buying pre-loved clothes is an easy way to reduce wastage by decreasing the amount of clothing on landfill sites. One way to do this is the Preloved Kilo. This is an event that runs up and down the UK- one of the stops being Guildford Cathedral. You pay for the clothing based on the weight rather than items being individually priced. For more information, take a look at the Preloved Kilo website here!

2- Reusable water bottle

Get yourself a reusable water bottle! Across campus, there are a number of places where you can refill your water bottle, including the library.

3- Mindful water usage

While we’re on the topic of water, lets talk about water usage. Don’t leave the tap or shower running when you’re not using it.

4- Transport

Walking or cycling around Guildford is one easy way to reduce your carbon foot print. Guildford is very easy to get around with a number of foot paths and cycle paths. From Stag Hill campus, it is a 20 minute walk to Guildford Town Centre or to the supermarket. Of course, there are other benefits to this, including… it’s free and increases your physical activity. Take a look at my blog on Keeping active at University!

Students leaving campus.

5- Electricity!

Switching off electricals like lights, lamps, cookers, stoves and computers when you’re not using them, is a simple way to reduce the electricity you’re using.

6- Using appropriate bins

Before putting your rubbish into the first bin you find, check that you’re putting it in the correct bin. You can find segregated bins on campus and different bags in student halls. For example, instead of putting food waste in the general waste bin, use a food waste bin where this waste can then be composted.

7- Reduce your food waste

To help reduce the amount of food you’re putting in your food waste bin, here are a few ways to limit your food waste:

  • Plan your meals.
  • Try not to over buy.
  • Use frozen produce- e.g. frozen vegetables.
  • Reinvent your left overs into a new dish.
  • Invest in plastic food containers to store your left overs in.
Stag figure outside Surrey Business School.

8- Buy responsibly

Think about what your buying and the impact it is having. Consider investing in an item that is more expensive, that will last longer. Another way is to consider the packaging of the products you buy- can you by fruit and vegetables without the plastic wrapping?

9- Find alternatives to single use items

The market of reusable items to replace single use products is on the rise! Before buying a new roll of cling film or a pack of make-up pads, consider buying a reusable alternative. This could be as simple as small food containers, silicone coverings and bamboo reusable make-up pads.

10- Reflect

If you want to become more sustainable (such as reducing the amount of plastic you use) but don’t know where to start- think about your typical week and reflect on the products you use, your habits and purchases. Make small changes over time to reach the goal you’re looking to achieve.

Biological Sciences Field Work.

The University of Surrey is also working towards being more sustainable:

  • Food waste bins in halls of residences: 60% additional food waste is separated and composted.
  • Compostable cutlery, cups and plates on campus.
  • Transitioning to electric vehicles on campus, used by the Ground team.
  • 80 upcycled bird boxes on campus.
  • Aiming for Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Offering canned water instead of bottled.
  • The Students’ Union nightclub is no longer offering single use straws or plastic bags.
  • 5p cup charge for disposable coffee cups.

For more information about Sustainability at the University of Surrey, take a look at this website.

Outdoor green space on the Stag Hill Campus.

As you can see, there are so many ways in which you can be more eco-friendly at University. These are simple changes which you can implement over time. While you’re here, why not check out Kaltun’s blog on Why the decision to move out was the right choice for me!