We are all aware of the potential for negative environmental impacts caused by industry and commerce. But what about school and university campuses? Many students living and studying together contribute, inevitably, to the global issues of waste and pollution.
This may not be an issue of paramount concern to students but it is vitally important that we raise awareness of the issue and work together to create more sustainable academic environments. Here are five tips that make a difference.
1. Use your own materials on campus
Plastic bottles, cutlery, plates and cups account for a huge amount of waste on campuses every day. Start with buying, and using daily, your own reusable materials such as a water bottle and container for snacks and lunches.
2. Avoid using paper
Start to digitise. Make sure that e-books are offered instead of paper textbooks for your lectures and take notes on your tablet or laptop (if permitted). Only print when absolutely necessary and promoting student events on social media. Avoid printing and handing out leaflets.
3. Organise a food waste scheme
Check if your campus has a specific scheme to separate and reduce food waste. If this is not the case, spread the word and encourage the administration team to adopt such a scheme. Encourage others by spreading awareness about food waste on social media. Make a short video on your smartphone and share it with your peers. Together, you can make a difference.
4. Cook your meals at home
Instead of buying takeaway meals, cook at home and invite your friends. It’s cheaper, fun and reduces food waste as you have direct control over the size of portions. Keeping leftovers for another tasty meal. This means, inevitably, less packaging – and that’s good for our environment. If you must buy takeout food, use your own container. Find some easy back-to-school recipes here.
5. Cycle or walk to campus
Instead of driving and paying for parking, cycle or walk to the campus. It’s much healthier and so much cheaper.