Top Tips for being a sustainable student

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”


And at UCASU we strive to do just that! We are one of only sixty-five institutions to take part in the NUS Green Impact, a national accreditation which recognises sustainability commitment. We are proud to have scored ‘Excellent’ this year!

Sustainability is a wide-reaching subject so topics can include areas such as social justice campaigns, recycling, healthy eating, travel and waste. Here are some top tips for being a sustainable student:


1.    Print only when necessary – When you have to print consider using one of the recycled paper printers in the library and print double-sided!

2.    Cut Down On Plastic – You can refill your bottle at water fountains on campus. The UK also has good enough tap water to drink without filtering. Carrying around a re-usable coffee mug can also save you money at coffee outlets on campus and in most coffee chains.

3.    Switching materials – Consider replacing some everyday plastic items like toothbrushes, kitchen sponges and cling film for bamboo/eco alternatives! These can cost a bit more but will save you money in the long-term. BONUS!

4.    Recycle, Reuse and Reduce – When getting rid of your waste, check for the recyclable sign and make sure you wash out any tins or cartons before recycling them. If you are unsure on what you can recycle, check your local authority website. Shop at charity shops, mend your clothing and donate unwanted clothing items.

5.    Dietary Changes – Plant-based diets have a lower environmental impact, even substituting a couple of meals to plant-based a week can help!

6.    Buy Local – Buying locally supports your local economy, local growers and lowers ‘food miles’. Search Big Barn‘s easy-to-use maps for local produce anywhere in the UK. ‘Food miles‘ is the term coined to describe the many environmental consequences of transporting our food greater and greater distances between farm and plate.

7.    Layer Up – Wearing more jumpers, socks and slippers around the house, and putting an extra blanket on the bed means you won’t be tempted to turn the heating up.

8.    Cook with Friends – If you’re going to use the oven, bake a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on. If you are in a shared house then all cook together in the evenings.

9.    Turn off your lights – During the day you can open blinds and curtains to fill rooms with natural light instead of wasting money on lighting. Switching your lightbulbs to energy-saving LEDs will save you money on your electricity bill too! Consider switching to renewable energy companies such as Bulb or Ecocity, they are often cheaper too and 100% renewable energy. If bills are included in your rent, why not reach out to your landlord and see if they will make the switch?

10. Get Active – walking or cycling from A to B is much better for the environment than taking the car. Little changes like carpooling or taking the bus for long journeys can really help reduce your carbon footprint.

11.    Wash a big load! – save money on bills by filling up your washing machine. If it’s warm or windy why not air-dry your clothes if you can. They will smell great too!

12.    Get Involved – Look for local litter picking sessions or tree-planting in your local community. Alternatively, you can get involved in the Sustainability Community and local community work!