Top tips to reduce your environmental impact whilst studying from home

22 April 2021

Green Champion Adam Vidler knows a thing or two about looking after the planet and minimising environmental impact. For Earth Day this year, read his top tips for playing your part in consuming less and looking after our the planet.

Young people at a climate march

With many of us studying from home and trying to get through these testing times as unscathed as possible, championing sustainability may not have been at the forefront of our minds.

However, Earth Day is the perfect time to re-evaluate our environmental impacts and behaviours to enable us to make better choices for ourselves and planet. Here are my top tips to make steps towards reducing your environmental impact whilst studying from home.

1. Energy consumption

Conserving energy used in your home study space is one of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact. Ensure you unplug appliances when not in use, shut down PCs at the end of the day and don’t forget to turn off your monitor. Turn off lights in the toilet and be aware of the thermostat temperature. Turning down by just 1 degree can make a huge difference. Better yet, just turn off your heating and wear a big cosy jumper. Also, if you happen to be in the market for a new energy supplier, try using companies such as OVO Energy or Octopus Energy – both only provide power from 100% renewable energy sources and they’re also fairly cheap!

2. Groceries

Try exploring grocery box delivery options in your local area as an alternative to shopping in your local supermarkets. With many food products heavily wrapped in single-use plastic, it can be hard to reduce your plastic usage. Many delivery companies, at-least in major cities, can delivery veg delivered straight to your door in a cardboard box – perfectly plastic free. You could also take a trip down to your local greengrocer who tend to use less plastic.

3. Tote bags

Whenever you do venture out for your food shop, don’t forget to use all those tote bags you’ve inevitably built up at the back of your wardrobe. Re-using these time and time again will help to reduce the use of flimsy plastic bags. If you’ve got a collection of plastic bags, make sure you use them until the end of their lives – you could even repurpose as your binbag, so you’re using them as much as possible – and avoiding buying more.

4. Toiletries

There are a whole host of ways you can reduce your wastage and consumption of resources through making little changes to the products you use. You don’t have to go full caveperso and stop brushing your teeth, using deodorant and washing altogether but consider the various eco alternatives. There are eco-friendly deodorants where the ingredients are all natural and you can get refills reducing the need to produce more packaging. When it comes to brushing teeth, bamboo brushes are a plastic free way to get that Hollywood smile. Investing in a reusable cotton pad, face cloth or biodegradable wipes can remove the need for disposable face wipes. And all those plastic shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles? Do some research into solid bars and get back to basics with a bar of soap!

5. Travelling

If you have to travel, say to your local supermarket or GP, instead of using a car or even public transport, why not invest in a bike or just walk? This way you get a workout in, feel the wind in your hair, get to stay relatively socially distanced from people and haven’t created any further greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

Adam Vidler, Green Champion/Communications, Projects and Events Coordinator, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing