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4 Easy Ways to Care for the Environment at Uni

Student Life

Since there has been an influx in awareness of the damaging effects of waste over the past few years, there are more and more things popping up in our daily lives that can be used to help us care for the environment. Either in your flat or around campus, there are already tonnes of things that you can do to make a difference. I’ve tried a few different things, some so small but so effective, and put together a list of easy ways to care for the environment while at University.

Using the correct bins

On campus or in your flat, there’s bins everywhere to stop you littering but, I feel like we’re all aware by now that littering is just a big ‘NO!’ and I reckon we can take it up a level. Let’s start separating our waste into general waste bins and recycling bins. Now, I know what you’re thinking and, to be honest, I thought the same initially, but this doesn’t mean raking through bins to find that bit of scrap paper that accidentally went in the general waste bin yesterday. Properly separating waste into the correct bins just takes a little bit of thought before hand. Once you’ve finished your water bottle or read your magazine back to back, just ask yourself: ‘Am I placing this in the right bin?’ before popping it in the appropriate place. There’s nothing dirty, time consuming or ‘uncool’ about it - you’re doing your bit and it’s something to be proud of.

Ride around town

One way to reduce your environmental impact around your local area is to use a bike for transport instead of taxis, cars, or buses. Think of it this way, a wonderful spring morning, wind in your hair (through your helmet, of course), and the sweet sensation of saving the planet. Great, right? Around Newcastle, you don’t even need to fork out for a bike as there’s a brilliant selection of bikes for hire, including Mobike. These easy access bikes are unlocked via an app on your phone and cost as little as 50p for a 20 minute ride. I’ve used these bikes a few times and found it especially fabulous that it tracks your journey and lets you know how many calories you’ve burnt along the way. If cycling around town seems like your kind of thing, don’t forget to check out the NHS guide for Beginner Cyclists before you head out onto the roads.

Reusable Goodies

From water bottles, flasks, food containers, or take-out coffee cups, these items are all perfect for looking after the environment. If you’re the kind of savvy student that batch cooks meals, choose a freezable food container that can be used over and over again rather than plastic bags. Similarly, many places around campus at Northumbria University offer reusable coffee cups that can even bag you discounted drinks here and there. Our very own Taste Cafe sell Mugs for Life which are not only great for on the go, but also heat insulated for maximum enjoyment of your cuppa.

Saying ‘No’ at the checkout

When the cashier asks ‘Would you like a bag?’, we all know there’s the temptation to say yes. It is, however, inappropriate to purchase a bag for your pizza when really the corner shop is approximately 2 minutes away from your University Accommodation. But of course, when you’re a 30 minute walk away from home with a few items on hand, there’s no doubt that a carrier bag will be a great help. To prevent purchasing another carrier bag when you’re in this situation you could do one of two things:

Always carry a spare plastic bag with you.

I know, you’ll feel like a fraud walking out of Boots with a Tesco bag but reusing plastic bags from previous shopping trips will not only help reduce the build up of plastic waste, but it’ll also save you that awkward 5p. If folded correctly, these bags will take up no space at all in your everyday backpack.

Use a tote bag.

Tote bags can be picked up from virtually anywhere and get handed out in abundance at Freshers’ Fairs. What’s great about tote bags is how long they last and how they fit so many things in. These tote bags will help you carry your shopping home, as well as being great for transporting library books and folders.

Following just one or two of these tips can help make a big difference around your flat and throughout University. If we all work together and do our bit then we’re sure to be able to enjoy our beautiful environment for years and years to come.

Make a difference and be proud of it.

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