How to be a (more) sustainable student

You’ll know the global conversation about being eco-friendly is everywhere. Whether you’re inspired by Greta Thunberg or just someone who would just like to do your bit, the easiest way to improve your sustainable life is to introduce small positive changes that become habits.

Travelling to campus as a student

How you travel to and from University can make a big difference to the environment. The University is committed to supporting ways to get around in cleaner, more sustainable ways. So what can you do?

Travel by bus

Leeds has excellent bus connections. Routes running between the University’s main entrance at the Parkinson Building and the city are: 1, 6, 28, 56 and 97. For more details, including route maps, visit West Yorkshire Metro.

two people walk underneath tall trees in Hyde Park on a sunny autumn morning.
Walking across Woodhouse Moor, Hyde Park

Walking

The University is perfectly placed for walking. Whether you’re travelling to town, or nearby Hyde Park or Headingley, you’ll be able to get most places within 20 minutes or so.

Make sure you’re staying safe, of course!

Bike facilities

Travelling on two wheels is a healthy, fast and cheap way to get around. The University is now a gold accredited bike friendly place to study!

The Bike Hub, near E.C.Stoner building

Right in the heart of campus is the Bike Hub.

Here you can:

  • Hire a bike — find out more information on the hub bike hire scheme.
  • Get help and advice regarding maintaining your own bike.
  • Purchase basic spares e.g. inner tubes, puncture repair kits, lights, D-locks.
  • Ask about maps, information, general cycling advice.
  • Get involved with volunteering opportunities around cycle maintenance, cycling events, education and outreach, design posters.

Our campus

The Sustainable Garden

The sustainable garden was originally planted in 2013, and is now a perfect place to get involved with planting, growing and harvesting in a sustainable, organic and pesticide free environment. Fruit trees, herbs and wildflowers edge one side, with a vegetable allotment style garden growing all-year-round crops takes much of the available space.

Find out more if you’d like to be involved with the Sustainable garden, or LUU Rooted (on the roof of the Union), the Leeds University Union (LUU) society which helps manage the garden.

Beehives on the roof of the Laidlaw library

If you’re keen on the pollinators that buzz around campus, working their magic, did you know there are quite a few bee-hives? As well as some in St George’s field and by School of Earth and Environment, there’s also hives on the roof of the Laidlaw too. If you fancy getting involved, make a bee-line to the Sustainability website bee keeping page.

Living in a sustainable way

Devonshire Hall of residence

Whether you’re living in halls of residence or in private accommodation, then there’s lots you can do to live more sustainably.

Here’s a quick check list:

  • Turn lights off before leaving a room and turn sockets off at the wall if they aren’t in use.
  • Reduce your use of single use plastic — keep cups, bags for life, reusable food containers and water bottles are easy changes you can make, today! Find out what the University is doing to eliminate single use plastic.
  • Check you know how to use the heating controls in your accommodation. Not only will it make a difference to the environment, but in private accommodation, it will lower your bills.
  • Only use the water you need for cooking/drinking/showering etc. It saves the energy in water treatment works.
  • All University accommodation has recycling bins and if you’re living in Hyde Park, Burley or beyond you can find out all you need to know about recycling from Leeds City Council.
  • If you’re going home at Christmas, Easter or just on a weekend, use the opportunity to take things home you don’t need anymore, rather than having to get rid of it all at the end of the year.

Keeping hydrated

Keep cups, for sale in cafes and LUU

Increasingly more and more of us have reusable drinks containers to use on the go. If you’re a hot drinks fan, you can get your keep cup from Leeds University Union and the cafes around campus. They’re a good way not only to cut down on disposable items, but also you’ll save money every time you go for a refill.

You’ll also find water refilling stations popping up around campus, in libraries, some school receptions and outside the Union.

Food and shopping

Leeds City Market

Lighten the impact on your budget and the planet by eating with your friends. BBC Good Food have some vegetarian recipes to help you cut down on buying meat.

Leeds city market is one of the largest in Europe, and it’s great for locally sourced food without plastic packaging.

If you’re on campus, why not head to the Green Action Food Co-op (next to Santander). If you’re buying food on campus bring your reusable takeaway box.

You can help reduce emissions by cutting down on deliveries. If you’re shopping for clothes or household items, definitely check out the local charity shops. If you need toiletries, try going package free. For sanitary products you can get plastic free alternatives or try a menstrual cup or underwear. The initial investment might be more expensive but you would save money in the long run.

Courtenay, post graduate student volunteers at Armley Junk-tion cafe

As part of the Real Junk Food Project network, there’s local community pay as you feel cafes in Leeds. Fancy getting involved volunteering or providing support? Check out Rainbow Junk-tion in Hyde Park, or Armley Junk-tion.

Too Good To Go

Food waste is a global problem, and two of our alumni created an app to help deal with it. Check out Too Good To Go, and bag yourself a significantly cheaper meal at the end of the day from campus and in the city.

Getting involved

LUU Rooted, planting pea plants on the roof garden, LUU.

Want to do more? Here’s a helpful list of things you can get involved with, meet like-minded people and make a difference.

Volunteer — there’s lots of opportunities on the sustainability volunteering programme, or you could go directly to an organisation within the community.

Join a volunteering club or society — there’s lots of different clubs and societies in LUU who make a significant difference to the local community, and further afield.

Sign up to our sustainability newsletters — we’ve got two — a community newsletter, and a sustainability newsletter.

Become a sustainability architect — people who deliver sustainability projects and bring new ideas and a student perspective. (That’s you, right?)

Keep up to date with sustainability events — from the sustainability team and LUU events.

Learning

Learn about Sustainability with ‘Creating Sustainable Futures’ discovery modules.

Student Sustainability Research Conference — experience the latest sustainability research and projects taking place at Leeds, to network, collaborate, develop meaningful contacts, and broaden your understanding of the challenges faced in a changing world.

What next?

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but those little steps, the changes you can make really do add up. How will you change your life to become more eco-friendly? The future you is relying on it.

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