Background on this blog: I’m currently doing a stint with Charles Darwin University and one of the things I get to do is help write content for the blog: https://launchpad.cdu.edu.au. Here is one of the blogs I wrote as we lead up to Plastic Free July.
I know! You are studying, maybe working, maybe have a family, you socialise and have many, many commitments. Being green probably isn’t high on your priority list. But, it should be! Why? It’s easy to make a few small changes that are good for the environment and good for the wallet. Let’s be honest, anything that saves money while you’re studying is going to be very handy.
5 Top Tips on being an Eco-Friendly Student
1. Buy Good Quality & Products Made for Recycled Content
There is a great range of products available that are made from recycled content or can be reused over and over again. Here are some suggestions:
- Buy 100% recycled paper for printing.
- You can buy pens and other stationary made from post consumer waste.
- Enough with the plastic bags, use reusable/recycled bags such as Boomerang Bags
- Addicted to coffee? Get your own CDU Keep Cup. Some coffee shops will charge you less if you bring your own cup.
- Make bottled water a thing of the past! Use reusable drinking bottles.
Stop buying paper all together! Don’t by a printer, buy a good quality computer, the best you can afford. A good computer will last for years. Learn to type your notes and reading off the screen will save you money.
Councils provide curb side recycling in Australia. Think about all of the paper you use for your notes, assignments and then include takeout containers, plastic water bottles, beer and wine bottles or cans, just to name a few. It takes very little effort to make sure that these items are placed in the correct bin at home or on campus. See Darwin City Council’s guide on recycling.
Did you know that in the NT there is a container deposit scheme? You can make money by recycling!
Recycling isn’t just about putting your papers and containers in the correct bin though, think about your old clothes and study books. Don’t throw them, resell them and make some money back. If you don’t have the time, at least donate your good quality clothing to your local second hand store.
Old study books you can’t be bothered selling? Give Now is another option or contact CDU Library to see if they will take them.
3. Sustainable Transport
Gyms can be expensive! Getting around by active modes of transport (walking, cycling or using public transport) is a great option. Active modes of transport are well known to result in:
- Increased capacity, and reduced congestion, in the overall transport network
- Reduced environmental impacts
- Improved public health and reduced healthcare costs
- Improved community wellbeing and social cohesion.
Source: Enviro Collective CDU
It’s also cheaper than owning and using a car all of the time! Next time you need to go from A to B, consider other forms of transport.
Free or cheap exercise options are provided by Darwin City Council’s community Program.
4. Reduce Your Power Usage
When it’s not in use, turn it off at the power point. Standby power wastage is a thing! It’s easy to turn off your appliances off at the wall, your wallet and the earth will thank you.
Turn off lights and use LED light bulbs. LED bulbs cost a bit more than normal bulbs, but the saving comes in the electricity bill, as well as the long-term cost savings. Use energy-saving LED will use approximately 1/5 the energy a regular globe use and will last longer.
5. Buy Local, Eat Local and Reduce Your Meat Consumption
Local and organic can sometimes be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Think about farmers markets, get your fruit and veg fresh, cheap and hopefully it hasn’t traveled far, won’t be mass grown, covered in chemicals and will taste better. In Darwin? Check out the list of Darwin markets. Alternatively, find where your local Community Garden is, Lakeside Drive Community Garden is run by CDU.
A number of health food stores around Australia now offer bulk buying. Bring your own containers and pay a lot less than you would if you were to buy it in the supermarket. It also reduces the need for packaging and when the items are grown locally a lot less food miles involved. A couple of places you can bulk buy in Darwin are Wicked NRG & Greenies.
Reduce your meat consumption! Meat is expensive and the amount of resources it takes to grow and prepare meat is ridiculous! There are also proven health benefits to reducing your meat consumption.
That’s it! Remember, every little thing you do can make a difference!
Written by Monica Bugno, long term eco warrior.