Save money and be more environmentally friendly by reducing waste this year

Ani Talwar·11 January 2022·4 min read
Save money and be more environmentally friendly by reducing waste this year

Between university timetables, societies, hanging out with your friends, and all those other commitments during term, it can be easy to forget in the whirlwind those little habits that can make sure you don’t waste needlessly.

Preventing Food waste

Leftover meals, carrots you didn’t use on time, or stuff going out of date can contribute to mounting food waste. Having a rough meal plan helps me prevent waste and it doesn’t have to be a rigid meal by meal plan either. By this I simply mean, if you know that you’re going to have homemade wraps with fresh peppers and onions, then just make sure you’ve planned another meal idea for later in the week that involves peppers and onions so you can use them before they go bad.

Make your freezer your friend! Buying food for one can be difficult sometimes, especially when supermarket shelves do bags/trays of food that’s more than one portion. However you can still get good deals without having the excess waste because you can freeze quite a lot and defrost it to use later. This BBC Good Food Article ( ) details what types of food you can freeze safely, and how.

In other cases, apps like the OLIO App ( can help. This app allows neighbours who join to connect between houses and nearby businesses to advertise if they/you have food that’s not going to be eaten, so other people who might want it can claim, pick it up, and use it instead!

Material Waste

Buying reusable containers is a great way to reduce packaging waste at home. Not only are they great for storage (and you can get them in all sorts of sizes, shapes and funky designs) but having food stored in airtight containers can increase the life of your product.

Buying food in bulk will reduce the packaging it comes with from the supermarket, and you can combine this with food storage and freezing options above to make sure you get the most out of one shopping trip!

Get a thermos ! Not only do they come in different colours and designs, but you can get your favourite hot beverage to go in a thermos that will stop it leaking and keep it hot, as well as reducing the amount of waste that will end up in the bin from a disposable cup. If you’re not sold yet, this article , gives you a breakdown on discounts you can get at different shops if you have your own thermos, including Pret A Manger, Costa, Caffe Nero, Starbucks, and Greggs.

Joining a buy/sell group is also a great idea to reduce waste, and connect you more with those in your local community.

Money waste!

Whilst also being more sustainable, some of these tips will also work as money savers too. Saving food means you have to make less frequent trips to the shops, and reusable bags and containers reduce that accumulative bag charge at the supermarket.

You can also try cooking with your friends or housemates at university, to reduce the amount you’ll have to cook yourself, and also learn some new recipes to bank up for when you have leftover ingredients you don’t want to waste.

Smaller habits like setting the heating to come on when it’s cold, not all the time, catching cold shower water, and keeping a lid on your pans when cooking will also help reduce both your energy and money waste on bills.