Earth Day 2023: Five little things students can do for the planet

Freddie Parker on 22 April 2023
School of fish swimming around plastic waste

People often talk about big changes in routines and behaviour to help the environment, but here’s some low-effort stuff you can do.

It’s Earth Day and here are some little things you can do to improve your environmental footprint. Don’t let hopelessness take over, sustainability is an attainable goal.

Vapes and cigarettes

Now we all probably know that you shouldn’t just throw your cigarette butts on the floor, they contain plastic and won’t biodegrade. But disposable vapes also need to be considered in this convo.

Not only do they tend to be made of plastic, but the batteries can cause all sorts of problems. They also tend to be made from precious metals that are a finite resource. If the brand you buy has easy-to-remove batteries, take them out and recycle them with other batteries. If not, check online to see where nearby accepts e-waste recycling.


Speaking of batteries, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t throw them into general waste. Methane gas builds up in landfills from food waste, this can be ignited by sparks from batteries and you can imagine the rest. Even a battery no longer usable in electronics will still have some energy.

Some of them also have precious minerals that can be recycled into new batteries. Many supermarkets have battery recycling points, so take a box of dead batteries there when you do a shop.


Firstly, make sure that only radiators frequently used are switched on. Bedroom, bathroom, living room. Anything else is unnecessary. It’ll save you a bit of money too.

Secondly, and this is the most effort intensive in this list, get a radiator bleed key and get any air out of your radiators. They cost a couple of quid and are relatively simple to use. Make sure your heating is completely turned off, then loosen the bolt and keep it loose until it stops hissing.


Please try to avoid printing anything unless you absolutely need to. In situations where it’s necessary, recycle it when done and protect it with plastic wallets rather than lamination. If printing from home, see if recycled paper could work for your needs. Most stationers will stock some, as does Amazon.

Washing dishes

It can be tempting to never want to touch another person’s washing up, but everyone filling the sink with hot water several times a day is unnecessary. Work together and use just one or two sinks of hot water. Getting a washing-up tub will also help reduce the amount of water used each time by being a little smaller than your sink.

Re-usable bags

Person carrying a tote bag that says

You may already be on the case for this one, but it really makes a difference. Put a little tote bag in all of your backpacks etc to make sure you don’t get caught out. Etsy and Redbubble are great places to find unique ones to fit your personality but there are also loads of cheaper ones available on places like Amazon. If you do ever get a plastic bag, recycle it at a supermarket.

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Freddie Parker
Freddie Parker on 22 April 2023