A Student Guide to Living Green on A Budget

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Engy Hassan

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04 October, 2021

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5 mins read

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Student Finance

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Living green is not a trend that will die soon; it is a lifestyle that showcases values and care.  Many people, including Millennials and Generation Z students, are highly concerned with the concept of living green and saving the environment. To do so, they join communities and help each other plan events to spread their knowledge throughout the student community. Still, one of the major concerns that prevent many students from going green is that sustainable products are more expensive than regular products, which means extra expenses students can’t afford. Many students don’t know that living green on a budget is a lot easier than they think. Are you Interested to know how? Here is a guide to help you move forward with your plan. 

Going Green On a Budget 

Plastic is one of the obvious examples you can use when talking about harming the environment. Still, many other manufacturing processes release toxins to the environment and raise the carbon print to its peak. This is why going green is a global cause we should all advocate for. Living a carbon-conscious life is now essential and must be a common practice. Additionally, It’s really easy to implement within your daily routine through small yet practical steps. 

Green Living on a Budget

1. Reuse Any Plastic Containers You Have

From water bottles to grocery bags and even skincare containers, all can be reused and recycled for multiple purposes. For example, you can use bottles or medium to large containers as plant pots, and plastic bags can be turned into yarn to use for crochet or knitting. It can also be used for making rugs, baskets and beach bags. Decorations and some origami figures are also good ways to reuse plastic bags.

2. Buy Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags won’t cost much and you will probably use them for a very long time. Buying reusable grocery bags in different sizes will allow you to carry them anywhere whenever you are out and about. Having them in hand is a must-have stable, as they will save you the need to use plastic bags.

3. Compost Your Leftover Food

Composting is simply turning your leftover, non-cooked food into soil to be used for growing plants and any agricultural purposes in the future. In other words, composting is recycling organic matter. The composting process usually takes around one month for the food to fully degrade. Composting is a crucial step you have to incorporate in your lifestyle as one of the main sources of waste is organic food leftovers. It will save you the hassle of taking the garbage out every day, as almost 60% of your waste is going to be composted. The main three ingredients in the composting process are nitrogen (food), carbon (paper/leaves), and water. You can use any paper you have lying around with no purpose, any bags, cardboard mailboxes etc. Composting will help you get rid of both leftovers and accumulated papers lying around your house with no actual use.    

4. Recycle as Much as You Can 

Investing in plastic containers can take up quite a budget, but you can make yourself a couple from the yarn you made out of plastic bags. Cheap, efficient and eco-friendly. Still, you will need a plastic container to use for the food composting process, as the yarn ones will most likely leak and attract insects and release bad odours. You can start small and work your way up into a larger container when needed.

5. Get Yourself a Cactus 

With zero agricultural skills, a cactus plant is easy to grow, easy to take care of, and can spend days without watering; the best plant ever! You only need to water it once a week and fertilise it once every two weeks. It will help you start on the whole planting track without much of a hassle. After a while, you will find yourself more aware of agricultural needs, and you will be able to start growing more plants. Planting means more oxygen, and more oxygen means clearer air, a smaller carbon footprint and, of course, a step closer to ending global warming.  

College Students Living Green

Universities Going Green 

With community being one of the most influential aspects when it comes to changing and adopting a new lifestyle, choosing a university that has the same environmental goals as you do and offers sustainable amenities and facilitation is a crucial step towards a carbon-neutral lifestyle.

Things to Look for When Choosing Your University 

1. Renewable Energy Resources

Solar cells and panels are greatly known as one of the cleanest sources of power to be used. Solar cells are used at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in ‘Green Lighthouse’ building.   

2. Water Bottle Reuse

Some universities banned the use of plastic bottles altogether, while others, like the University of Edinburgh, installed hydration stations’ for the student to refill their bottles without having to buy a new one every time they run out of water. 

3.  Locally Produced Food

Universities, like the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada, are hosting a weekly event for farmers as a way to support the independent farmers and help to reduce the amount of plastic packaging consumed on fast food wrapping. University of Canterbury, New Zealand has done an amazing move towards sustainability as it offered students on-site community gardens for them to grow their own food! How amazing is that!   

4. Waste Disposal

The University of Lausanne, Switzerland believes in composting the leftover food, and it sends it to nearby farms for them to compost it and turn it into organic fertilizers and biogas fuel. 

5. Green Transport

Bikes and electric cars are some of the most sustainable ways of transportation and if a university is offering bike parking or bike hiring services, it’s a good sign! At Duke University in the United States, students can use their student cards to borrow bikes out of charge and bring their bikes for free repairs. The University of Oslo, Norway offers a free charging station for electric cars. 

6. Sustainable Building Design

The main idea behind sustainable building design is to reduce the amount of power consumed in air conditioning during summertime and in heating during wintertime. A sustainable building is a building that stays naturally cool regardless of the temperature. The student services building at the University of Texas at Dallas, US was built according to this approach. 

7. Awareness-raising Events

Holding frequent events to get everyone on board with the whole going green initiative is also a green flag you should look out for when choosing your university. Lots of UK universities hold a ‘Go Green Week’ event each year like the University of Bristol, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Gloucestershire and Swansea University.  

Now you know that living green on a budget is possible. The dream to live in a country with zero carbon emissions is not impossible. Two countries, Bhutan and Suriname have exceeded the expectation of carbon neutrality through their 2050 world mission and reached the carbon negative milestone sooner than expected. 

Carbon negative means that the amount of carbon dioxide produced is less than the amount emitted. This happens due to the tremendous amount of greenery they have invested in and the manufacturing process they chose not to return to when producing essential products. 72% of Bhutan is under pristine forest cover, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and that is what makes Bhutan a carbon-negative country. Annually, Bhutan generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions with its forest producing more than three times the amount of that.


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