There is currently a lot of talk about the environment and the absolutely detrimental effect that humans are having on the planet – most likely due to Planet Earth and Blue Planet, and many videos going out showcasing a poor turtle having a plastic straw completely lodged up its nose. Not a pleasant thought or image, but seeing the reality has made people and big companies really think about their impact.
Living in the NL has definitely opened my eyes up to living a greener and less consuming life!
This is something I’d say I’m fairly passionate about now, I’m always that one flatmate that insists on recycling everything I possibly can – annoying to some, but completely necessary for the world. So I thought I’d write a few ways that students in particular could help the environment.
(In no particular order…)
Yeah, since coming to the Netherlands I have become obsessed with cycling. Walking is slow, taxis are expensive, buses are grim- and expensive considering how grim they are. Cycling is literally the dream (except when it rains and it’s -7 outside, I do get the tram then, but at least that’s public transport!) The bikes here have front and back racks which means you can literally travel with so much stuff than you ever imagined on a bike! However, get yourself a rucksack and a bike basket if you wish and get cycling. It’s an obvious one but more people should do it! I will definitely be taking my bike to Leicester next year!
2. Don’t use paper.
We really don’t need to use paper anymore for notes, everything is online. With that said, I am the type of person who needs to rewrite notes to revise – in that case, try to get recycled paper, and then of course, recycle it after you’re done! But for the majority of your daily notes, try to keep it all online!
3. Do not use those tiny plastic produce bags
Assuming you’re shopping for one, you may choose to pick up individual produce instead of pre-packaged. Nothing annoys me more than people using those produce bags for like, two tomatoes. It’s so not necessary, just leave them as they are, the cashier will have no issues just putting them through like that. OR buy reusable mesh or canvas produce bags – you can get them on amazon for around £6 – the earth will appreciate the investment!
4. Please ditch the plastic straws, plastic cutlery and reusable coffee cups
I appreciate there has already been an effort in the UK to ban these. However, take initiative and refuse them at bars and restaurants. After a quick google check, America apparently use 500 MILLION straws a day – that is outrageous. Buy a reusable metal straw and just put it in your bag, don’t use a straw at all or if you really insist, just use one plastic straw for the entire night – don’t get a new one per drink! – but really, don’t use the plastic straws (or cutlery for that matter, you can also buy them online!) And as for coffee cups, just bring your own too.
5. Go meat free one day a week
The animal meat industry is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. By choosing to go meat free for even just one day you’ll save animals lives, water, car emissions and your bank balance!
6. Get yourself a reusable stainless steel water bottle
My flatmates drink only bottled water and it stresses me out so much. The plastic destroys the world, and the toxins in the plastic destroys your inside. It’s really a no-brainer. Get a water bottle, save money, the planet and your health! – And you’ll probably find you drink more water too which once again, is only a bonus.
7. Think about cutting down on fast- fashion
I feel like people really don’t consider this aspect so much. Fast- fashion like we have today – New Look, ZARA, H&M is so detrimental to the sweatshop workers that are exploited so terribly, the land and agriculture than the cotton we use is grown on and yet we continue to fund it. The companies only care about profit. Try and buy free-trade clothing where you can or at least if you can’t afford that yet, only buy what you need and buy secondhand – all of us buy clothes we don’t even end up wearing everything and it’s such a waste of money and only funds the exploiting more, buying into consumerism. Also, instead of chucking something out when it gets a rip, just sew it up again and reuse!
That’s just 7 tips but really, we all need to be doing more!