Eco-friendly student guide

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Classes have started, holidays are officially over and this year is the beginning of a new decade. January was the perfect time of the year to reprioritize your schedule and set your goals for the future. If you haven’t done it yet, you are still on time. It’s never too late to change some bad habits! 

As every year, I wrote down a list of new year’s resolutions. Concerned about the climate situation we are living in, I decided to make a fast research online about how, as an individual, I can help the environment. As a result, there was an incredibly amount of small things that we should all add to our everyday life and that will make a big difference on the long run. So, if you still haven’t written one yet, make now your own new year’s resolution list and dedicate at least a couple of points to the environment.  

But what can a student actually do to help the planet? Sometimes, just switching some little every-day life habits with a more sustainable one can make a big difference. 

Here are 10 easy tips that we can all integrate in our student life routine: 

  • Separate your waste. All the houses and student buildings have their own space where you can separate your trash before throwing it. Recycling is really easy and should be just a normal thing to do for everybody. But for some reason, still many people are not doing it. 
  • Buy your own reusable beverage containers. In Finland clean and drinkable water is accessible almost everywhere. It’s usually very easy to find a place where you can refill your own bottle. Xamk cafeterias are also selling reusable bottles and mugs for your daily coffee. Buying a reusable bottle, reusable mug or thermos can be a little pricey for a student, but it’s a good investment on the long term! 
  • Bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping. Plastic bags that you can find at the shops are usually throwed away after only one use. So, every time you go shopping, remember to take your bags or backpack with you. 
  • Start biking or walking. Finnish winter is not the greatest for this, but as soon as it gets warmer and sunnier, always prefer some healthy exercise. You can find second-hand bikes for cheap prices or you can start using the bicycle sharing system available in your city. 
  • Cut down water and electricity usage. This is something that we were probably all taught when we were small children, but we sometimes forget it when we became adults. I remember that, when I was a kid, my dad was super annoying when he was constantly repeating me to shut off the lights if there’s enough sun light or if I’m leaving the room. But now, I’m glad that he taught me this little energy saving tip! So, don’t let your water run when not needed, shut off all the lights before leaving the house and unplug all of your electrical devices when not used. 
  • Collect your plastic bottles and cans. In Finland there are special machines in the entrance of grocery stores, where you can return empty plastic bottles and cans in exchange of money that you can spend for your grocery shopping. So, a win-win for both the environment and the student’s wallet! 
  • Stop buying things that you don’t need. The more things you buy, the more things will be accumulated in your house or will end up in the nature. So, stop your impulsive shopping and think if you really need a product before buying it.  
  • Check out second-hand shops. Second-hand shops offer a wide range of products, from clothes to house tools and decorations. There, you can find many different things in good conditions that has been changed just because of new trends. So, try to take a break from the “fast fashion” and invest in sustainability. 
  • Keep your notes and schedule digitally. Use your smartphone calendar and reminders to reduce the amount of paper at minimum. 
  • Decorate your house with plants. Plants remove toxins, improve air quality, reduce stress levels and they just look so good as a house decoration! 

Let’s make this 2020 the year of the change!  

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