Read below for some useful tips on living sustainably as a student without having to drastically change your current lifestyle! Even the smallest actions can have a big impact!
Get a KeepCup or any reusable cup! We sell KeepCups for £7 in all our outlets and accept all reusable cups in our cafés (because we <3 reuse).
Replace plastic with a reusable water bottle – no need to keep buying bottles of water when you can fill your own bottle up at any of the water fountains around campus.
There are loads of different types of reusable water bottles available, and there are Dopper water bottles on sale from University cafés, as well as our DHT Shop.
Glass containers are really useful for buying anything in bulk and avoiding excess packaging. From dried foods such as rice and pasta, to cleaning products and toiletries, there are so many things you can buy without creating plastic waste.
Zero-waste shops offer food to buy in bulk, as well as refill products such as hand wash, shampoo and conditioner. You can even go a step further and look for toiletries in solid form, which don’t need a container at all!
Zero-waste shops to check out
• Zero Waste Corner at the David Hume Tower Shop – George Square
• Eco Larder – 200 Morrison Street, EH3 8EB (Haymarket)
• The Refillery – 39 Newington Road, EH9 1QW (Newington)
• New Leaf Co-op – 23 Argyle Place, EH9 1JJ (Marchmont)
• Weigh To Go – 27 Crighton Place, EH7 4NY (Leith)
• The Hearty Squirrels Co-operative – Every Thursday 11am-5pm, Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre basement
Get yourself a tote bag for shopping - stay on the lookout during Welcome Week to see if you can snap up a free one on campus! Save the planet and save on paying for a plastic bag, what’s not to like?
Invest in a reusable container for your meals. Next time you visit a salad bar, why not ask if they can fill up your lunch box instead of using a throwaway container? You can even save money! Humpit in Potterrow Dome offers students a discount for using your own Tupperware instead of their containers.
If you have periods and are able to do so, try Mooncups instead of tampons or sanitary pads. These are available for free at distribution points around campus, such as outside the Advice Place.
Edinburgh has a fantastic selection of vintage and second hand shops that will have you browsing for hours. For the charity shop hotspots try Nicolson Street, near George Square campus, or the Stockbridge area for a venture further out of town.
If you are looking for vintage treasures, check out Armstrongs Vintage renowned stores, and don’t miss Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, with a special sale in Potterrow during Welcome Week.
Think beyond clothes! If you are looking to kit out your flat with furniture and homewares, why not see what charity shops have to offer before buying something new?
The annual Freeshop during Welcome Week, organised in partnership with SHRUB Coop, is a great place to start to find books kitchenware and more - all for free! But if you miss it don’t despair, SHRUB Swap and Reuse Hub is open all year round.
You may have only just begun to think about paying bills, or if you are living in University Accommodation you may not even have to yet! But if you do pay bills, switching to a green energy company is one of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact.
Switching may even be cheaper than conventional energy companies, and if it’s something important to you, why not support renewable energy with money that you have to spend anyway?
Another change you can make at home is recycling your food waste. If you don’t already have a food bin at home, you can order one from the Council, and food bins can be found on the kerbside next to recycling bins. Look out for the green food waste bins on campus too!
Washing your clothes on cold or doing a quick wash is another easy way to make sure that you are doing your bit for the planet!
Worried about your internet footprint? Use Ecosia and you can produce carbon negative internet searches! Ecosia directly uses the money generated through their internet searches to plant trees. Install Ecosia on your device with a click at this link, and all your searches will count towards the contribution of trees planted by the University of Edinbugh for Ecosia. To find out more about Ecosia at Edinburgh, join the campaign here or get in touch with the Sustainable Development Association.
With constant images of vacation and travel snaps flooding our social media, who can say no to a much deserved holiday break? However, it's good to weigh up your transportation options and choose the most sustainable way to get to your destination.
Where possible, travelling by train is better than flying, and though it may not be possible for all of us to stop flying altogether, flying less is already a good start! For journeys like Edinburgh to London, taking the train might turn out to be shorter and more pleasant than taking the plane - no need to turn up early and go through security! Plus train tickets are often much cheaper than the plane if you buy them in advance. If flying is necessary, opt for direct flights whenever possible.
On a day to day basis, cycling is a good way to get around the city and can double up as your daily workout! Check out Edinburgh's Just Eat cycles Uni Pass, and don't forget, students can get free bike repairs from a local Doctor Bike mechanic who visits all campuses regularly.
Interested in learning more about sustainability? Check out the short course Be Sustainable by the University's Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability, to give you a brief introduction into current environmental issues, the solutions and what you can do here in Edinburgh and beyond to help.