These are just some of the tips shared by students living within halls of residence but are actions we can all try and take. Getting into positive habits whilst living in student halls can help students to manage the cost of bills when moving into the private-rented sector too.
Talk to your flatmates
Increasing awareness and sharing ideas about how we can live more sustainably is one of the most impactful actions you can take.
Report issues and share feedback
Sometimes a lack of facilities or faults with them can create barriers to sustainability. If you notice a broken light, dripping tap, missing bins or recycling posters, broken seal to your oven or fridge, then report it to a member of staff in your residence. If you have ideas about how to improve sustainability within your halls then share these too with your residence taff team or university sustainability team.
Switch off lights and appliances
Some communal spaces in your halls may have motion sensor lights but where you have control, remember to switch them off when not needed. If lights sensors are faulty, make sure to report them to a member of staff in your halls. Don’t forget bedside lamps, fairy lights and bathroom lights too. Switching off your appliances and plugs at the socket is a great way to prevent energy wastage as items use energy in standby or sleep mode.
Don’t overfill the kettle
Don’t use additional energy or waste your time by overfilling the kettle with more water than you need. 200ml is the ideal amount of water for a single hot drink.
Put a lid on your pan
Putting a lid on your saucepan significantly reduces the amount of energy required to cook your food and cooks your food quicker. Also try and use the right size hob/stove ring for the size of your pan, otherwise you are just heating the surrounding air.
Put layers on, not the heating
When the temperature feels a little cold, instead of turning up your heating straight away just put on a jumper or an extra layer. A jumper can add 3 degrees celsius of warmth to your body. If your halls run a little hot, make sure you’ve turned down the radiator or thermostat (if you can) before opening a window.
Reduce unnecessary waste and recycle
Where possible, refuse additional packaging and disposables, opting for reusables instead. In the UK, recycling can be confusing as the rules are often different but aim to check the local guidelines and read the guidance posters in your accomomodation to ensure you are seperating waste correctly. This will help to conserve resources, reduce landfill waste, protect ecosytems and save energy.
Put on full loads of washing
Washing machines and tumble dryers use a lot of energy and water. Try to put on fuller loads rather than lots of small loads; coordinate with flatmates if needed and 30 degrees celsius is generally a good temperature to wash your clothes and will help them to last longer.
Reduce food waste
UK households waste 7 million tonnes of food every year while 8.4 million people are struggling to feed themselves (FoodCycle). Aim not to over buy by keeping track of what food you already have and planning what you need. You can also check use-by dates which are better guidance then best-before dates, and freeze items if you don't think you will eat them in time. Don't get rid of your leftovers either, instead try and use them in your next meal or share with your friends.