How to reduce waste at University

Jause mit Banane

I try to live as environmentally friendly as possible. However, when one is out and about for the entire day it can be quite challenging to do so. There are some small things I do on a day-to-day basis to reduce waste. It might not be as much as others do. But I truly believe, that small efforts still can do a lot of good.

  • Bring your own lunch

A tip that will not only save a lot of money, but also reduces a lot of plastic waste. When you go to the supermarket or to a take-away restaurant, some of your food will be wrapped in plastic. You also have control over what you eat and can avoid greasy foods that are too high in sodium. Your wallet will thank you too. If I end up at the supermarket anyways, I try to go for unwrapped produce.

  • Always have a reusable bag with you

This one is a no-brainer in my opinion. Reusable bags just come in so handy and take up almost no space in your backpack. I use them for literally everything: spontaneous trips to the library, when I go to the supermarket after class or when I treated myself to a little something in a whim.

  • Use the library

This isn’t only a great tip to save a tremendous amount of cash, but also is a good way to save resources. Every book you borrow from the library doesn’t need to get printed. Furthermore, the university library is free for students and has a lot of fiction books alongside the textbooks you need for class. In Vienna we have access to a great public library, which is also very affordable. If you are looking for a specific book and the library doesn’t have it in their catalogue, most of the time you can request it and they will purchase it for you.

  • Ditch the printer

As a literature student I have to read a lot. Quite often the professors scan the reading material and we can access it online. It is so tempting to just print it out, but I try to avoid this as far as possible. Often the paper is bleached, which is harmful to the environment. Vivien wrote an informative blog post about paper and alternatives to it.

  • Say no to goodies

Especially at the start of the semester you get a lot of freebies at university. Highlighters, Coffee to go, free newspapers – you know the drill. When you walk into university it can be a real obstacle course to try to avoid them. Most of the time you don’t need these presents, they just accumulate in your bag until you chuck them. So why not just walk past those temptations and do yourself and mother nature a huge favour?

What do you do to reduce waste? Tell me in the comments below!

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