Small things that you can do to be more sustainable as a Cardiff University Student27 September 2023
As a society, we are generally becoming more conscious of the impact of human actions on the environment. This is slowly starting to impact our patterns of consumption in what we buy, making us more aware of where we spend our money. Unfortunately, as students during a cost-of-living crisis, it’s not always easy to carbon conscious consumers. While taking part in the sustainable global experience in Brussels with Pagoda Projects this summer, I made a pledge with the Carbon Literacy Project to make daily efforts to reduce my carbon emissions. In this blog, I share some of the affordable ways in which I have been working towards these goals as a student to help make being more sustainable, more achievable on a budget.
Try second-hand fashion
I’ve touched on some of the incredible vintage stores in Cardiff before, in a blog about options around Cardiff – for those especially interested, Cardiff Students Union has its own Sustainable Fashion Society. To give you an update on my new favourite vintage stores, Rokit Vintage has just opened up on Queen Street with a wealth of sustainable fashion finds. Although some of these items aren’t incredibly cheap, they are more affordable when compared to alternative fast fashion brands. Additionally, The Safe Foundation, a locally run charity with the goal of ‘improving the lives of some of the poorest people and communities in the world’, has just opened a second Ethical Boutique Charity Shop in St. Davids. This is worth checking out to not only shop sustainably but also support a local charity with an honest mission.
Backpacking over holidays (or no flying)
We were taught during our time in Brussels, as part of The Sustainable Global Experience with Pagoda Projects, of the high carbon emissions from flying in comparison to taking trains. For instance, according to this BBC article, domestic trains emit 42g of CO2 per passenger per km travelled, while domestic flights emit 188g of CO2. Therefore, rail travel is much for sustainable. A great way to factor this into your travels is by considering interrailing for a longer period of time rather than going on a traditional holiday. This is not only more sustainable but arguably more affordable if you do it right. Backpacking and rail travel is also a unique experience that any young person should try at some point in their lives.
Purchase second-hand furniture
Purchasing second-hand furniture is not only more affordable and more sustainable but may even give your student house some unique homely touches. Rather than a standard IKEA coffee table, why not go for a quirky wooden table that you won’t find in your neighbour’s flat. This is exactly what my housemates and I thought when we bought our new coffee table at the British Heart Foundation Furniture & Electrical store on Crwys Road. This way, we are not only supporting a charity but also saving money while reducing our emissions.
Hopefully, these simple suggestions will help you save money while living more sustainably. I’ve managed to incorporate them into my own life which has helped me live up to my Carbon Pledge as well as live more aligned with my personal goals and concerns for environmental issues.