With a million and one things already on your To Do list, being environmentally friendly as a student can seem like pie in the sky.
But, it doesn’t have to be.
Here are five simple ways to be greener every day – even if you never leave campus.
1. Bring your coffee cup to uni
It’s estimated that Australians bin over 1 billion disposable coffee cups a year – which amounts to 2.7 million per day. You’ve probably binned a coffee cup this week. We’re just sayin’.
And, even if you’re recycling disposable paper cups, the amount of water used in the process of removing the laminated layer from the paper is pretty massive.
The solution is simple: bring a reusable coffee cup to campus. If you forget, or you don’t own one yet, you can grab a new one from GSA reception (in the 1888 Building) for just $2.
2. Ride to uni
The University of Melbourne is truly bike friendly. On the Parkville campus alone, there are 1,800 places to lock your bike, including 300 in secure bike hubs. If you’re a grad student, there are places to lock your bike right outside the 1888 Building! There are also bike repair stations available on most campuses, along with shower and changing facilities.
If you’re based at Parkville, join GSA, Sustainable Campus, Melbourne Uni Sport and the Law Students Society for our regular Ride2Uni breakfasts. Just cycle in before 10am on Ride2Uni day and grab free breakfast, free bike engraving and free bike maintenance advice.
Find out when the next Ride2Uni event is here.
3. Recycle your old notes – or take notes electronically
Once the end of a subject or semester rolls around, it’s easy to put all your old notes to one side and… well, just forget about them.
If you’re never going to need them again, tear old notes out of notebooks (you can’t pop a metal spiral-binder thing in the recycling bin) and recycle them. Most councils in Victoria make recycling very easy – but if you’re worried about confidentiality, you can always make use of a confidential waste recycling bin on campus.
Better still, take notes electronically. By using a note-taking app which syncs across all your devices, you can ensure your notes are always accessible, wherever you are in the world.
4. Power off devices which aren’t in use
Leaving your laptop on indefinitely might save you time when you need it, but it uses up a tonne of electricity.
Rumour has it that your devices can still be draining energy when they’re turned off but plugged in, so make sure to switch off and unplug where possible.
And, if you’re paying your own power bills, it’s not only the environment that will thank you.
5. Reduce your meat consumption
Reducing the amount of meat in your diet, even just one meal a week, can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint because of the amount of methane and CO2 released into the atmosphere by common production processes.
If you’re on campus, one easy way to get more veggies in your diet is to head along to the UMSU Food Coop on Level 1 of Union House for cheap, healthy vegetarian food every lunchtime during the semester.
You can find out more about the Food Coop here.
And, don’t forget to enter GSA’s inaugural Sustainability Prize to help us raise awareness of biodiversity on campus!
* Images 3 + 4 via Flicker Creative Commons.