4 Tips to Reduce Waste at Uni

Photo by Anne Blombach

Whoop, yet another article about how bad plastic is for our environment, we get it, okay!? Don’t worry, I am not planning to intimidate or shame you with this but rather give you some tips on what you can do in your daily life to reduce waste. I personally support the thought that every step counts, as little as it might be. God knows I am not perfect, but I am also not trying to be. Trust me, you will feel way more motivated when you stop punishing yourself for every coffee cup or plastic bag you buy. Trying your best can still go a long way and to quote hundreds of thousands of inspirational posters sold at the pound store: Nobody’s perfect! The purpose of this article is to raise awareness and maybe make you think twice about certain aspects.

  • Reusable shopping bags

You would think this is an obvious one but the amount of people I see at the supermarket or around student halls that pack all their shopping into those 5p plastic bags surprises me. I personally do a weekly shop and I always just grab one or two reusable bags before I leave. But sometimes you forget them or the spontaneous trip to Tesco leaves you with an unhandy box of donuts and three bottles of lemonade. As I said, go ahead and buy that plastic bag. But instead of throwing it away straight after, you can reuse it as a trash bag or (even better) just drop it off at the store again because there, it is way more likely to be recycled than if you throw it in the recycling bin. (Side note: Normal Recycling bins can be easily contaminated, and a BBC Freedom of Information request showed that between 2011-12 and 2014-15 the amount of rejected recyclable waste grew by 84%. There is also a handy guide on this link as to what goes in the recycling and the general bin, so check it out!)

  • Bamboo toothbrushes

Anyone who came across the zero waste movement one way or the other has probably heard of bamboo toothbrushes. I have finally given in and bought myself a couple of them. Honest review: They work like any toothbrush, but you have to get used to the wooden feel. After a few uses, however, you won’t even be able to tell a difference anymore. So, why not give it a try? (By the way, any product that I mention can be easily found with a simple Google search!)

  • DIY cleaning products

I know this one might be a bit daunting at first but believe me, it is not that crazy. There are numerous easy recipes on the internet for you to try (just type it in your search bar or, as a probably not so secret tip, Pinterest is always a great source!) that are cheaper, healthier for you and the environment and that stop you from buying ten different products all packed in tonnes of unnecessary plastic!

  • Unnecessary packaging

As I said, this whole article is supposed to be about raising awareness. If you keep in mind how bad plastic actually is for our planet, you will start to notice tons of unnecessary packaging while shopping for groceries. I have been buying especially fruit and vegetables loosely for a while now and guess what, they are just as delicious, and I wash them before use anyway. I have gone a step further and stopped buying things that are packaged in too much plastic. Of course, that is totally up to you but just try to remind yourself every time you buy a certain item if there might be an alternative (e.g. one big bag of crisps instead of a multipack with 6 individually packed bags).

I don’t want to bore you any longer and I congratulate you if you made it all the way through this article! If you want to find out more about this whole agenda, there are countless YouTube videos, blogposts and articles dedicated to the topic that are really easy to find! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and I am happy to help!

By Annie Blombach

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

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