Ways to live more Sustainably as a Student: Living eco-friendly in a shared house.

Trying to be more environmentally conscious while living with other people can be hard, regardless of if your situation is living at home with your family, an apartment with friends, or you’re at university.

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When living with other people, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to figure out how to even start living more sustainably. There are so many different things that you can consider doing, but it’s also important to know that even if you’re not currently in charge or have a say in things (like what electricity company you use), you’re still actively thinking about the sustainability aspect of it and that’s a great start!

Why should we be thinking about being eco friendly when living with other people?

Regardless on what your living situation is, you shouldn’t feel bad or like you’re not allowed to try and live more sustainably simply because you’re not the only person in your house. There are loads of different ways to live more environmentally conscious, so even if you’re just doing something small like switching to shampoo bars over plastic bottles, you’re still making an impact and that still helps.

Below I’ve added in a few different suggestions for some ideas to start you off. Obviously some things won’t work for everyone so just try and see what could suit you the best. Don’t feel discouraged if whoever you live with doesn’t want to do something, you can always add it to a list of things that you could try at a later date or if you move again.

Try and focus on what you personally can control

As I’ve said above, it can be a little disheartening to know you can’t control all of the decisions to make you home a little eco friendly haven – sad I know. But there are tons of decisions that you can personally make which will ultimately have a sustainable impact on your day-to-day life.

There are many things you can personally do, whether that be starting to buy from more sustainable toiletry brands or trying out shampoo or conditioner bars, to reducing fast fashion consumption and buying more things second hand – either clothes or home items!

Make sure you check out my sustainable toiletry guide and my eco friendly back to school supplies guide to give you a good idea what options are available!

Suggest ideas to others but don’t be discouraged if they say no or aren’t interested

Have you ever considered cutting down your meat consumption or wanted to go vegan but preferred to do it with someone else? You could always ask if anyone in your house would want to try it out with you! If they end up saying no or have reasons why they can’t (allergy reasons can be one), don’t feel like you need to give up on the whole idea. If there are any foods or products you buy personally, you could start tailoring them to fit being vegan or your new lifestyle – being able to make small steps is better than doing none at all!

This could also apply for if you’re at uni with provided food – if you buy treats or snacks for yourself, try and see what things you could buy that are veggie or vegan.

I have a whole guide of my favourite vegan alternatives to try out if you’re not sure where to start!

A similar situation could be applicable to things like your energy supplier. Switching to green energy can be a great way to cut down on emissions and also helps lessen the demand for fossil fuels to power homes too! If you’re worried that who you live with might say no, make sure you do some research into what energy suppliers are available and make sure they know how much of an important thing it is to you.

Start out with little things

When looking into things that affect the whole household, it’s a good idea to try out a few little bits at a time. If you all split the costs on things like washing up liquid or laundry detergent, then try and research into a more eco friendly option to use. If you use up lots of plastic bottles of hand soap, you could look into switching to bars of soap, which tend to last much much longer and can often come packaged plastic free.

If you’re looking into containers to store your leftovers, you could always see what you already own – plus plastic takeaway containers work just as well and you get them for free! Old pasta or salsa jars are also great for storing dry goods, just make sure you air them out first!

Make sure you also check out my post on zero waste “swaps” you already own, which could save you some money.

See if there are any local communities or groups near you or in your school

If your housemates aren’t all that into eco living, there are loads of communities you could join for support. I recommend checking out if there are any local facebook groups for your area for a good starting point, as well as maybe your local community centre or even your school you go to might have some kind of group to join!

There are also countless nationwide and worldwide communities to look out for, so know there’s always someone who has been through a similar experience to you!

Don’t be put off by the price of things.

When you start out on living more sustainably, you might be put off by the prices of the more eco friendly options. Try and price up how often you buy the products you plan to replace and roughly how much they cost you over a period of time (per week/month/year) as well as how often you use it – it might be that the more eco friendly product costs maybe an extra pound or so, but if it lasts you a whole month longer than what you already buy then it could save you a little here and there.

I also have a few tips on eco ways to save money when going green, which might be of some use if you’re on a budget.

Shampoo bars often last around 80 washes and bottles of shampoo usually have enough to last a month if used everyday. This means that a shampoo bar should last you 1.5x as long as a bottle should, and the bars often come in much less packaging.

Another good example is period products, as reusable can feel like an expensive purchase at first. If you price up how much you spend on them each month compared to how much reusables are, you’ll find that eventually it won’t cost you anything when your period comes around! I really like Modibodi for period underwear, and they have and all gender inclusive range for all people who get periods.

See what local eco shops are in your area and if they can supply anything you need/give ideas

Even if you don’t buy the food for your household (like if you live with your parents still), seeing what eco shops are available to you is a great idea to get you started. If you’d prefer to shop more local, these tend to sell local sustainable brand too, as well as a few bigger eco brands.

Bulk stores can be a little more expensive than buying from a normal supermarket, but maybe try and put some money away to go once a month to buy a few essentials like dried herbs, pasta, grains, and maybe refill your dish soap or laundry detergent. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have the budget available to go to eco stores, you’re still making a good impact by just trying your best!

These are just a few different tips to help you out if you’re living with others, so hopefully they help! Do you have any tips you wish you knew when you moved in with housemates?

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