Painting the Town Green: How to Pull Off a Sustainable Night Out

Astrid Greif/Unsplash

Sometimes, the prospect of living a more eco-friendly student life can seem a little overwhelming, especially with that fast-vanishing loan of ours and a hefty rent to pay. Of course, no one is expecting us to start fitting our student roofs with solar panels, or cycle a million miles a day (or so it seems) to campus — but that’s exactly why it’s so important that we do do our bit for the environment where we can. This includes adjusting the ways we ‘let loose’.

So, let’s talk about nights out; probably the last thing you think of when trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. But actually, there’s a whole lot of simple ways we can be kind to the planet whilst on a night out. Let’s separate them out in to stages of the evening.

Prepping and Pampering

-Pick your party smock wisely, and make it second hand.

Research by WRAP in the UK shows extending the average life of clothes (2.2 years) by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5–10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints. So go ahead, take a hunting trip to the local charity shops instead of ordering that ASOS delivery you know isn’t going to look as good as it did on the website last night.

-Don’t make-do with any old make-up.

In January of this year, the British government banned the production of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics. Since then, an increasing number of beauty brands have been focusing on developing natural products, so we really have no excuse to still be using non-eco friendly and cruelty based make-up brands. Eco friendly brands you NEED to check out include Axiology, PHB Ethical Beauty, Barefaced Beauty, and Inika. All of the above specialise in products which are cruelty-free, vegan, and organic, with ethical sourcing and thoughtful packaging. It’s literally never been easier to keep our cheeks rosy and our lifestyle green, and now you know how.

Alternatively, go make-up free (the northerner in me gasps). Cue that annoying friend to tell you it’ll be dark in the bar anyway.

-Do you really need that shower?

This sounds silly, but seriously, do you really need that final pre-pamper shower, or are you just bored of work and a little too excited to start getting ready? Obviously, make sure you’re clean, but try and save water by sticking to a shower a day if you really don’t need another one.

The Consuming That Comes With The Grooving

-First of all, ditch the plastic straws.

Secondly, please take a flat outing to your nearest discount store and invest in a set of permanent cups instead of buying (and inevitably hoarding) countless stacks of disposable ones for every pre-drinks you host. Whilst on your excursion, group together to buy larger bottles of drinks to share instead of using extra plastic by getting multiple smaller ones.

-Lift your spirits, leave the beer alone.

It’s estimated that 1.5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are created by the production and consumption of alcohol, mostly beer. Want to know the carbon footprint of that pint of yours? According to Mike Burner Lee’s 2010 Guardian article, it’s this:

  • locally brewed cask ale at the pub: 300g CO2e
  • local bottled beer from a shop or foreign beer in a pub: 500g CO2e
  • bottled beer from the shop, extensively transported: 900g CO2e

So if you do insist on nursing a pint at pre-drinks, at least make it a local brew. In fact, whatever your beverage of choice is, do try and make sure its locally sourced. It saves an almighty amount of transportation energy.

Make sure your post night-out snacks are vegetarian.

I know chicken nuggets can be really, really tempting at 3am, but each piece of meat we consume requires vast amounts of land, fuel and water before it reaches the kebab shop, so just stick to some good old cheesy chips.

And finally…

The Aftermath

-Do NOT buy those make-up wipes

Wet wipes are clogging up drains and blanketing beaches all over the world. Instead of using packets upon packets to remove your eye shadow, get yourself a microfiber cloth. The chemical-free face towels will remove every last mascara smear, and they’re cost efficient, too, as you’ll only have to buy one. At the end of your week of shenanigans, pop it in the wash and it’ll be good as new.

By: Alex Scott