In a country obsessed by the three E’s (education, economy and environment) being eco friendly is shoved down our throats on a daily basis. Now I’m no eco warrior but to be honest, I don’t blame the government for doing so because the bottom line is that our careless actions will have consequences down the line. You don’t need to relinquish the twenty first century way of life or go and live in the woods. There are so many easy ways to incorporate an environmentally friendly attitude into our everyday lives.
Since the council have replaced our dustbins with narrower ones we are now forced to recycle to avoid fines. However it’s not as if recycling requires a lot of effort. Being students who regularly eat takeaways and conduct pre drinks, we have lots of tupperware to be reused for storage and glassware to recycle. For first years, a trip down to the bottle bank near your halls may be slightly embarrassing if your drinking session was pretty heavy but second and third years have no excuse as they don’t have to leave the house. These days most things can be recycled and the council will take as many green bags as you leave out.
Doing your bit for the environment can more often than not help you save money. When it’s convenient, doing tasks communally such as cooking and laundry can save on water, gas and electricity which in turn reduces your utility bill total at the end of the month. Also, try not to leave devices such as laptops and televisions on standby and turn lights off when you leave your rooms. I’m sure that turning the heating on has caused a number of arguments in your house over the winter months (actually it’s Wales so all year is a more realistic assumption). Why not agree to set the heating on a timer and wear extra layers when it’s off?
If you have brought your car to uni, try and resist driving everywhere. Several short journeys use up more petrol than one long journey and again is an unnecessary expense as well as bad for the environment. Plus there is the cost of parking. Almost everything you need in Cardiff is within walking distance and even if the weather is terrible the city’s public transport is frequent and tickets are reasonable.
When you are having a clear out of your things, why not donate any unwanted items to local charity shops rather than throwing them away? It not only reduces waste but you do your bit for charity in the process. Even shopping in charity shops helps as you are reusing second hand items rather than buying new ones. Speaking of shopping, make sure you reuse carrier bags on your weekly trek to Lidl. Despite the fact there is a charge on plastic bags, people still seem to be requesting them at the checkout instead of taking reusable ones.
I’m sure most of you already do most of these subconsciously as many of these ideas benefit you individually also. However, there are those who fail to see how little things make a difference. The reality is, if we all made a couple of little changes, our actions would accumulate and have a significantly positive impact on our collective carbon footprint.