Between lectures, work, exams, a social life and budget constraints — it can feel impossible to think about the planet too, but a little can go a long way when it comes to lifestyle changes. Here are some small things you can do to make a big difference to the environmental impact of your time at University.
Make reusable investments
Reusable products can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce. You can pick up a KeepCup, Chillys Bottle or fabric tote bag at The Union Shop. You’ll ultimately save money and the ocean — you can get a ‘bring your own cup’ discount on coffee in the Cafe, not have to shell out for bottled water, or pay for plastic bags to take your groceries home.
Take some reusable bottles to Hulme Community Garden Center to buy your cleaning products — they sell things like laundry detergent, washing up liquid and hand-wash by volume so you don’t have to buy something in a plastic bottle every time you need a refill.
Lots of clothes shops now have sustainable ranges, meaning the material used to make them has much less impact on the environment. Some places, like Monki, Cos and Weekday even give you a discount if you take in a bag any old clothes for them to recycle.
For even less impact, head along to a vintage fair or a clothing swap — it’ll probably be less money than buying new and you get to stop things going to waste and add some great pieces to your wardrobe.
This is the number one piece of advice given to cut down your carbon emissions. Even eating meat-free one day a week can have a huge difference. Check out MetMunch for some recipe inspiration or head into Manchester and sample some of the amazing veggie restaurants like Bundobust — it’s not even too hefty on the purse strings with the two dishes for £7 lunch deal. Look out for other meat free offers too like the Meat Free Monday in The Salutation Pub with 25% off all veggie burgers and mains.
Walking and cycling produce no carbon emissions and help you keep fit. Travel for Greater Manchester also do free cycling training to help build your confidence and get you road ready. If these aren’t an option, think about getting public transport — the train or Metrolink are the next lowest for carbon emissions per passenger kilometre.
Join a society
If you want to meet people who are passionate about the same things as you, why not join a society? There are lots of societies dedicated to the environment, from educating and acting on world-wide issues like Manchester Met Environmental and Geography society or People and Planet, all the way to maintaining the Gardening Society maintaining the beautiful John Dalton gardens.
If the small changes aren’t enough and you want to make a bigger impact and push sustainability at a higher level, there are lots of ways you can do it. You can talk to the officers and get involved with their campaigns, like Education Officer Lucy’s campaign for paperless dissertations, or speak to the Voice team at The Union to get support on how to bring attention to a matter that really means something to you.