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The Art of Being Eco-Friendly

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Ani Talwar describes some of the realities we can face striving for an eco-friendly student life. Maybe you’re looking at setting some sustainable new year’s resolutions, perhaps one of those could be to introduce sustainability in your student life. Here she shares her top tips on how to go sustainable as a student for cheap!

I would say the skill of living with limited impacts on the environment should be offered as a course in itself at university, it’s so hard sometimes! Here I will give some tips on how to do it cheaply and quickly, so let’s just call this a crash course in transitioning into a sustainable student.

It feels near impossible to cut plastic out of your life, and indeed, where would the faithful uni student be without Tupperware leftover take out boxes, but whilst I’m not making the criminal suggestion of giving up pizza, let’s talk about how to do it without  harming the planet.

Telling you to walk to all your lectures might be a stretch in the rain, but in the sun, it’s quite a nice walk so give it a shot! Take your notes electronically. It’s easier on your arms AND you don’t end up with paper wastage when you want to edit and improve your work.

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Take your notes electronically rather than on paper

(Hint Hint: it also means that if you write down something you think of that’s super smart sounding you can copy and paste it into one of your essays without rewriting it or trying to decipher that 9am lecture half asleep handwriting)

Now this next one is a bit obvious, but it saves both the oceans AND money so let’s just say it anyway: grab yourself a funky water bottle, and say goodbye to spending money every day on beverages, and go to bed safely in the knowledge that there is one less plastic bottle in the ocean.


With plenty of bottles on the market to suit all budgets and preferences, there really is no excuse!

If you’re a real sustainability nut, the next one is a bit harder but it really does help. Agriculture is responsible for nearly 25% of all greenhouse gasses, and meat and dairy are a massive part of this, so if you’re able to eat a little less meat, or have toast for breakfast instead for a few days, you’re going to be making a massive difference.

But I go to York Uni, and that means we have such an amazing sustainability opportunity in that we have our own farmers market! You even have a couple to choose from with York Farmers’ Market on the first Friday of every month on St Sampson Square or Shambles Market which is open 7 days a week from 7am, including over 85 stalls, so you’re bound to find what you need. You can even source gifts, gluten free, organic and vegan produce!

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Farmers’ markets are great places to shop and cut down on the plastic

Fashion is another quirky way you can help be sustainable when at uni. Keep your clothes as long as possible, revamp them to fit with the latest trend, or you know, just wear your favourite years old pair of jeans with pride.

And if you really want to go nuts and be that eco friendly student, why not grab a bamboo toothbrush, or look up the where you can buy a whole set of kitchen and bathroom stuff with NO PLASTIC INVOLVED!

So you see it’s not that hard to be a sustainable uni student. In fact you’re probably rolling your eyes saying you do a bunch of these things already. But from one concerned environmentalist to another, let’s go ahead and spread the message anyway, because what’s the harm.

About the Author: Ani Talwar can be found at @Mischief.weavers, she wrote the book ‘ATRO- CITY THE FLOOD’ and cares passionately about sustainability.

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