How To Be Sustainable On A Budget | World Earth Day 2023

World Earth Day is taking place on April 22nd 2023, and we wanted to celebrate whilst educating in style.

If you’re at university, we understand how difficult it is to manage a low-cost budget: the regular night out funds, having to get weekly food shops JUST to survive, and even forking out for an endless supply of coffee!

Being thrown into this NIGHTMARE after leeching off your parents for years can be an eye-opener – if we’re going to put it lightly.

Let’s take this one step further and try to be sustainable on top of this?!?! How is that even possible.

We all have this image in our heads that maintaining a sustainable lifestyle is expensive, and not manageable if you’re looking to save money.

Don’t fret, we’re here to let you know you can implement budget-friendly sustainable living into your everyday routine.

Need some helpful tips on where to begin? Keep reading and discover how you can be sustainable on a budget.

how to be sustainable on a student budget

Does sustainable mean cheap?

Not necessarily, no. Investing in a sustainable lifestyle can be more expensive in the short term, but the long term benefits of quality and longevity will inevitably mean you get more for your money.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to implement a budget-friendly sustainable practice into your life. Find out our top 10 here…

1. Buy a reusable water bottle

Plastic pollution is a thing, a huge thing. Over 5 million tons of plastic are used in the UK every single year, a whopping 5 billion kilograms (for those that struggle to envision it).

7.7 million plastic bottles are used each year, with the average person in the UK now using 150 plastic bottles per year. These extreme facts are mind-boggling, and it’s only projected to get worse.

When living sustainably, you want to reduce as much plastic consumption as possible; invest in a reusable water bottle! Think about it, you’re basically saving on both sides.

Less buying plastic bottles in the shop = less money spent = helping to become more sustainable. All we see is win, win, win.

a reusable water bottle

2. Shop second-hand fashion

Fast fashion is causing an uproar amongst sustainable Gen Z’ers and Millennials. Did you know that more than 50% of clothes will be discarded after one year, due to the quick changing styles?

Altogether, it produces 10% of the carbon emissions within our earth. So, every time we decide to buy some new clothes, we’re gaining one carbon footprint…is it really worth it?

Nonetheless, we can’t just go years without buying any clothes (no matter how cheap life would be). If you need something new, you can always head to a charity shop, or even to second-hand retailers such as Depop, Vinted and eBay.

These are already clothes circulating, saving them from heading straight to landfills. It’s an effective way of saving money as well – keeping your budget well intact.

second hand fashion to save on sustainability

3. Upcycle clothes

Upcycling is a pretty cool idea, especially if you’re thinking about both your bank account and living sustainably.

Likewise, if you have tons of clothes sitting in the back of your wardrobe, why not consider donating them to a charity shop or sell them online? This way, you can give your old clothes a new lease of life and do your part for the planet!

The environmental benefits of this are extramental, saving them from heading straight to landfills.

upcycling and diy clothes to keep things circulating longer

4. Walk everywhere

If you’re wanting to be eco-friendly whilst on a student budget then one of the most simple ways you can do this is by opting to walk rather than using public transport.

If you know anything about air pollution, you’ll understand just how bad it is. It’s one of the UK’s deadliest killers, and transport plays a huge part in this.

We were born with two legs for a reason, so get yourself outside and walk to uni, the shops or even to the club! You’ll save a ton of money and be sustainable in the meantime. What’s not to love?

girl walking down the road instead of getting transport

5. Reduce food waste

Did you know the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year???? In comparison to 2007, that was a 15% reduction, yet it’s still an exponential number.

Making the most of the fresh produce to prevent food waste is super important. It’s also great for stretching your budget!

One of the best ways to do this is to plan your meals in advance, including every little detail. Having dishes, such as stew, towards the end of the week can also ensure you’re using every last ingredient possible.

You can also use the Too Goo To Go app if you want to help reduce food wastage within your local community.

The way it works is, you can rescue food from being thrown out by your favourite shops and restaurants.

Download the app now for iOS or Android to help fight food wastage!

reduce food wastage

6. Invest in Reusable Shopping Bags

You’ll most likely remember when the 5p plastic bags charge came into play – right? The absolute horror of having to pay 5p for a bag…oh you can even picture the outroar!

Nevertheless, it had such a positive impact and only a year since it was introduced, UK plastic bag sales dropped by 59%!

This helps reduce the number of harmful chemicals entering the soil when plastic bags are disposed into landfills.

If you’re like us and hate having to pay for a bag, then purchase some re-useable shopping bags, it helps your budget as every 5p can add up you know!

girl with her reusable shopping bags to help with sustainability

7. Eat less meat

If you’re looking for ways to be sustainable on a budget, then you should try to eat less meat, or cut it out of your diet all together and opt for a plant-based diet instead!

The meat industry is one of the deadliest ways we’re killing our earth. Producing and raising animals generates as many greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined. Not to mention, meat can be a very expensive commodity.

If you don’t want to go completely meat-free, then you could try to eat less meat by cutting it out of your diet for one day a week.

You could try Meat Free Mondays and learn the art of cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes, you could even ask your flatmates to join in and make it a weekly event.

It will help save on a few costs and you never know, you might just fall in love with the plant-based life.

eating less meat to improve carbon footprint

8. Cook from scratch

We know, it’s easier and more convenient to throw in a ready meal or order a takeaway, but cooking from scratch has so many benefits.

Not only is there tons of environmental benefits from cooking from scratch, you’ll also save money, you’ll have more control over the food you put in your body and you’ll feel more satisfied.

We know, it certainly longer to cook food from scratch but you will be doing your part for the planet, and for your bank account – you can’t complain there really!

The best part is, our UK student accommodation is furnished with top-quality amenities, perfect for cooking up a storm and giving you the platform to cook from scratch.

fresh ingredients

9. Make Your Voice Heard

A great way to be sustainable on a budget is by making your voice heard and helping others to stay aware.

Help to spread the word about how others can be more environmentally conscious, whether it’s talking with family and friends, sharing resources on social media or so on, help to motivate others to do their part.

These important conversations are a great way to get people to act and make a positive impact on the world around us!

speaking to others about the environment

10. Volunteer

If you want to make an impact on a larger style, you could consider volunteering your time to a cause which helps the planet.

Volunteering is a great thing to do not only for the planet, but for yourself too.

Some of the benefits of volunteering include gaining valuable skills and experience, improving your confidence as well as boosting your mental and physical well-being.

Head to your university website to find out about volunteering openings, or search online to discover organisations you could get involved with.

volunteering at uni

We know, it can be hard to go green as a student as you have so many other things to focus on, but by making these small changes within your life, you can help the planet and foster a healthier lifestyle whilst at university!

We hope these 10 ideas to improve your carbon footprint has been helpful.

If you have any more tips for how to be sustainable whilst on a student budget, we’d love to hear from you @urbanstudentlife.

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