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Sustainable choices to make when coming to uni: Do’s & Don’ts

We understand that moving to uni can be a stressful time. That’s why we are giving you our best budget-friendly ideas (and some that you can do for free too) which would not only save you time but would help save the planet too!

At Leeds Arts Union, we pride ourselves on sustainability within both the Union and the university. This year we have been awarded an ‘Excellent’ standard for the Green Impact Awards for our efforts throughout the academic year 2021/22.

Fun fact: Did you know? As a University, we recycle or reuse 98.9% of our waste!

We are constantly working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (aka SDGs) which were announced in 2015 in an effort to tackle poverty and preserve the planet by 2030 so that all people can enjoy global peace and live a prosperous life. There are 17 goals in total which we use as a framework when planning events, buying supplies for workshops and making social media content, plus so much more… keep an eye out for those hashtags on our socials!

Here are our top tips on how to be more environmentally friendly whilst moving to uni:


  • Buy second-hand items from places like Facebook Marketplace, charity shops etc. (who doesn’t love a good bargain!)

  • Leave some clothes at home, so when you visit it’s like having a new wardrobe with all the

existing clothes you forgot about.

  • Do your first food shop with all of your housemates - It’s not only a great bonding exercise but it also means that your spice cupboard isn’t full to the brim!

  • Make sure to buy refillable cleaning products, once you’ve used up your washing-up liquid, take the bottle to your local refill shop and fill it up there. [See our sustainability map here]

  • Try and make one trip to move your belongings to uni - you can always bring things over gradually after visiting home. You don’t have to take everything over at once!

  • Carry a spare tote bag/bag for life around with you - You never know when you’re going to need a spare bag for groceries, books and other goodies. It saves you a few pennies in the long run, whilst also saving the planet! Less plastic = less waste


  • Do not panic buy! It’s better to buy less and then buy more at a later date than what you actually need when you get to uni. Plus, this also means less fuel doing multiple trips trying to move all of your belongings in.

  • Avoid spending money on Uber trips - Try walking or cycling to places unless you absolutely need to e.g. rather than walking alone at night. But if your accommodation is a couple of miles away from uni, why not get those extra steps in? Not only is it good for the environment but it’s also great for your physical and mental health!

  • Don’t put the washing machine/dryer on for only a few items of clothes - This not only uses lots of water and energy for a small amount of clothes but it will cost you when it comes to paying your bills.

  • Avoid takeaways/eateries that use single-use plastics - Try and pick takeaway places like Dominoes that use cardboard boxes to pack their food in

  • Don’t throw away general food waste - Try composting old banana peels at your nearest compost site

  • Try and go paperless - Opt for e-tickets on trains, email receipts and paperless bills. This also applies to reading too, why not try reading e-books online or maybe invest in a Kindle and buy books in a digital format instead

If all of these points sound like a bit of you, and you do want to be more eco-conscious and meet other like-minded students, why not join our sustainability society? ‘Conscious Creatives’ is a student-led society which aims to educate, promote and celebrate sustainable and social responsibility throughout the University. As well as bringing students together through workshops as well as action days and other collaborative projects. Why not give it a go? You might surprise yourself and become a changemaker here at Leeds Arts University!

Make sure to also check out our sustainable bingo card here, to be in with the chance of winning a couple of sustainable goodies! Follow us on Instagram at @LeedsArtsUnion for up-to-date info and events that are happening in the Students’ Union. And don’t forget to share your sustainable bingo card on your story, make sure to tag us, so we can see your progress and we’ll enter you into our prize draw!



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