Starting at university can give you the chance to start afresh, to become more independent and to live how you want to live. Whether you were already trying to live sustainably before moving to university, or you are now wanting to live sustainably, there will be plenty of tough choices you will have to make to your daily life. These choices may be difficult to adjust to initially, but they will make your life more ‘organic’ and often cheaper too! Do keep in mind though that changing to a sustainable lifestyle is hard and there will be times when you feel like you’ve ‘failed’ because you’re used to not living this way and you’re finding it hard to break those habits. Try to be kind to yourself if you ‘fail’ and remind yourself why you are making these changes.
When it comes to fashion making the choice to avoid and not give in to fast fashion, is incredibly difficult, especially as fast fashion is a cheap alternative to high fashion and allows you to keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends. But have you ever stopped to think about how much fast fashion is costing you?
Keeping up with the latest fashion trends can be as difficult as finding your own style, but one sustainable way of keeping the cost down and finding your own style is to change where you shop. Try shopping at second-hand shops and charity shops like Loros (High St.) and Oxfam (Market St.) or you could go further afield and shop at vintage shops.
Changing how you shop and where you shop can be a difficult adjustment, so if this is a change you want to make, don’t beat yourself up if you ‘fail’. If changing where you shop is hard for you, start smaller and change your shopping ethos. Think about cost per wear, ask yourself if the price of the item is because it’s durable and has a long life or because it’s made to be thrown out.
Alternatively, you could try going a month or two without shopping for new clothes. The amount of clothes you feel you need over how much you do need is a significant size and a serious issue that comes with buying into fast fashion. Try to cut out unnecessary shopping. Buy what you need not what you want.
Food and Drink:
One sure-fire way to make your diet more sustainable is to become a vegetarian or a vegan, but this is not the right path for everyone so instead you could try having some meat-free meals. There are plenty of good meat-free alternatives by brands like Quorn and supermarket own.
Stop good food going to waste. The app Too Good to Go gives you access to reduced unwanted food leftover from restaurants and cafés local to you. You can pick up a bag of leftovers from as little as £2! You can pick up options for lunch or dinner throughout the week without the hassle of a mid-week grocery shop or cooking every meal. (DMU’s Food Village features on the app!).
If you can, buy your groceries in bulk. If not, when buying your groceries use cloth bags and containers instead of using supermarket plastic bags. Leicester Market is a great place to buy your groceries in bulk and cheaply.
Instead of using plastic cups and disposable coffee cups, switch to a metal or stainless-steel reusable water bottles instead of regularly buying bottled water. You can buy a reusable bottle from most high street shops or online. Most coffee shops and cafés often sell reusable cups for your hot drink needs.
Beauty and Hygiene:
If you wear makeup, use washable cloths or cloth pads instead of disposable wipes and cotton pads to remove your makeup. You can buy a makeup remover cloth from Boots for £6. You could go one step further and make your own cleanser using olive or coconut oil and water.
If some of your favourite beauty products do come in plastic packaging, try switching to a brand that allows you to return your empties to be disposed of ethically. The Body Shop has recently started doing this, so considering giving this brand a go. Their products are not tested on animals and they have vegan products too. It is definitely the company to look up to.
Use bars of soap instead of shower gels that come in plastic bottles. It’s often cheaper too. You can buy a bar of soap from Lush for as little as £3.
Whatever your journey into living sustainably is, these tips can help you along your way but there are plenty of alternatives and other changes you can make to make this a more comfortable journey for yourself. Whether you want to reduce your impact on natural resources or unnecessary plastic waste or reduce your carbon footprint, remember that your choice to live sustainably is your choice. Only you can decide how to ‘improve’ your life.