Since this week is UQ Sustainability week, I thought it would be a fitting opportunity to discuss ways to incorporate sustainability into our lives, especially in a way that won’t break the bank. As students, many of us are on a tight budget and the idea of purchasing eco-friendly alternatives can sound expensive and off-putting. This blog outlines a few ways to add sustainability into your life without hurting your wallet. Hopefully, these 5 tips help inspire you!

1. Opt For Paperless Billing

Cost: Free!

An easy way to be sustainable is to switch over all your bills to emails! It’s quick to set up, free, cuts down on paper wastage, and might even save you some money. When I switched my phone bill over to being electronically mailed, I saved $2.20 each time I had to make a payment. Many businesses have hidden fees associated with physical letters so it’s a good idea to check and make the change to digital.

2. Repurpose And Reuse Items You Already Own

Cost: Free!

Upcycle your old furniture and turn it into something new! There are so many DIY tutorials online that teach you how to turn old furniture, clothes, and ordinary household items into something useful. I love to hold on to empty glass jars and containers and find ways to reuse them for hair ties, make-up brushes and for storing food that needs to be sealed. Remember: “The most sustainable option is the thing you already own.”

3. Switch From Plastic Bottles To Reusable, Metal, Or Glass Bottles

Cost: Around $5-$30

An easy way to help our planet at a low cost is by buying a reusable water bottle. I bought my reusable metal water bottle from office works for just $5 and it has made me my money back by saving me from purchasing a water bottle every time I leave the house.  “Did you know that every year Australians spend over $700 million on bottled water which has a carbon footprint 300 times greater than tap water?” At UQ, we have access to cold water refill stations across the campus, just look out for the tall green “Drink Me!” machines. Click here to find out the locations of the water refill stations and more on the impact of plastic bottled water.

4. Buy A Keep Cup

Cost: Around $5-$30

Just like reusable water bottles, a keep cup is a great way to avoid single-use coffee cups ending up in landfills. Another great initiative at UQ for students to take advantage of is “Green Caffeen.” Green Caffeen is an app you download on your phone that allows you to buy a coffee and get a free reusable coffee cup. All you have to do is return your cups within 30 days. You can then get another free keep cup with your next coffee purchase for another 30 days. To find out more about this initiative and participating UQ cafes, click here!

5. Visit Op Shops

Cost: Around $2+

Checking out a local second-hand store is an awesome way to find hidden treasures. I once found a vintage Burberry coat for $10! Second-hand stores sell more than just clothes though. You can pick up games, books, furniture, jewellery, and household goods for an affordable price. Check out some of these popular Brisbane Op Shops and give a preloved item the chance to have a new life with you.