Being environmentally savvy can save the world and your wallet.
By Isabel Hayman-Brown and Fabiola Buchele

Ten tips on how to be a sustainable student

By Isabel Hayman-Brown and Fabiola Buchele

The latest edition of The River showed how eco-savvy fashion students used sustainable materials to create stylish and sexy creations. A lesson in sustainability is one we could all do with taking notes from, so we at River Online have come up with a few hints and tips to make your carbon footprint that little bit smaller.

1. Second Hand Shopping
It can be frustrating when your wallet doesn’t agree with your wish to do your bit for the planet, so ditching high-street stores for charity shops can help ease that consumer guilt as well as creating less waste. Vintage and second-hand shops have long been the go-to place for fashionistas to pick up their most unique garments and Kingston has a smattering of charity shops full of cheap finds just waiting to be discovered. For more exclusive pieces take yourself out to Surbiton, Teddington and Richmond, where the shops haven’t been quite so ravished by fashion-hungry students. There’s no need to go all the way to Brick Lane for retro clothing, you can indulge your vintage whims on Kingston’s Old London Road which is home to the go-to hotspots for vintage clothing in Kingston: That Vintage Shop and the Antiques Emporium. When doing your bit for the planet looks so pretty who can refuse? That Vintage Shop, 39 Old London Road, Antiques Centre, 29 Old London Road

2. Recycle Clothing
To make room for the new, you must clear out the old and one person’s waste is another’s fashion fantasy. Recycle your last season clothes at charity shops or by dumping them in the clothes recycling boxes outside all KU halls of residences.

3. Sustainable Shopping
Old habits die hard so you don’t need to change your shopping habits too much to have an impact on the environment. High street favorite H&M has tapped into its green streak with its Conscious collection, a range made up of organic materials. So you can rest easy when shopping knowing that your stylish clothes aren’t leaving a carbon stamp. Check the label before you make your decision. Many high-street stores have included a new green label on garments telling you whether the material used is organic or recycled. An eco-fashion company who is aware that a student budget often makes being green that tad bit more difficult is People Tree. The environmentally friendly shop offers an exclusive 10 per cent discount to those still in education, making eco fashion a thrifty pursuit.

4. Hair
You might not want to die your hair green but at least you know the product used to highlight your hair can claim it is. Kingston Natural Health on London Road offers organic alternative hair and beauty treatments to the not-so-eco-friendly treatments applied by most hairdressers. The environmentally conscious salon on Old London Road offers a 25 per cent student discount making being green affordable too.

5. Beauty
When it comes to beauty Kingston offers a range of shops to help you scrub up well in the environmentally friendly stakes. Lush on the market square sells fragrant, hand-made cosmetics using little or no preservative or packaging. You can grab more green cosmetics at Surbiton Natural Health Centre to make sure being beautiful doesn’t mean being a burden on the environment. Surbiton Natural Health Centre, 14 Claremont Road, Surbiton. Lush, 27 Market Place, Kingston

6. Bikes
Making a trip to your favourite green grocers or catching up with your friends over a cup of fair trade coffee is as eco-friendly as it gets: with a recycled bicycle. The boys at second hand bike shop Recycles in Surbiton can get any old bike back on track. Old bikes which have been left to rust in alleyways or spent years gathering cobwebs in garages are given a new lease of life and with the revamped bikes going for prices as little as £35, the effect on your wallet will leave you in a spin. Recycles, 151 Brighton road, KT6 5NW

7. Bags
On average, we use a plastic bag for about 12 minutes before throwing it away, so an indestructible bag made out of recycled material goes a long way. You can pick up durable bags from supermarkets which not only are reusable but can hold much more of your shopping.

8. Food and Drink
Is your frothy cappuccino habit making a dent in your weekly budget? Most high street coffee giants offer a discount on your coffee if you bring your own flask. Starbucks offer 10 percent off for ditching the paper take-out cups in favour of your filling up your own. So getting your much needed caffeine fix can save your pennies as well as saving the environment. If being green-fingered and getting your hands dirty in a vegetable patch seems too much like a chore, you can still enjoy fresh food sustainably with veg box scheme From the Ground Up. From The Ground Up is an organic fruit and veg box scheme in Kingston which delivers fresh organic and affordable local produce to your doorstep.

Being a book worm doesn’t mean having to plough down trees to fund your literature consumption. BookSmart is a free, interactive service open to all students at Kingston University that allows you to buy, sell or swap any books meaning affordable and sustainable study. You can go one step further and become entirely paper-free by using Skim, a downloadable software program which allows you to annotate and highlight PDF’s and e-journals on screen. So instead of printing realms of recommended readings, lugging about lever-arch files and leaving a paper-trail of un-sustainability around the university you can do your bit for the planet by ditching paper handouts.

10. Household Recycling
More than 80 per cent of rubbish produced in Kingston could be recycled or composted so thinking twice before you toss your cans and bottles strewn over the house from the night before goes a long way to reducing your footprint. Kingston offers doorstep recycling for glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, food waste and tins. All halls of residence offer recycling services and for larger recyclable items you can go green by taking them to Recycle banks on Villiers road. For more information on how to be a sustainable student visit:; or pop into the Sustainability Hub (Town House room 110)

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One comment

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