Student Olivia’s Tips for Living Greener!

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Hi I’m Olivia, a final year geography student, the social secretary of the Conservation Volunteers and a vegan of two years. I wanted to share some of my tips for living a greener lifestyle, which have really helped me along the way.  So, here’s my top tips for living more sustainably as a student…

How to be a savvy, sustainable shopper

Plan your meals: Plan and prep your food weekly i.e. batch cook & freeze meals; make packed lunches; limit eating out and be creative with your leftovers!

Grocery Shop: I shop at the end of the day when items are often reduced. Also, I would suggest buying large packs of dried goods as they are cheaper per 100g, use less packaging and last ages, and of course I buy fresh produce package free.

Zero-waste shops: These are great places to get dried goods and household supplies!

Share Meals: Cook with your housemates. Chilli, fajitas and curries are great for buying / cooking in bulk and fun to share.

Greener ways to travel

  • If you’re visiting a friend in Selly Oak, why not ditch that taxi and walk? Or if a taxi is a must, such as at night – carpooling is the answer!
  • Drive to the gym? Maybe jog there and add to your workout.
  • Whenever you’re heading home for the holidays, perhaps get a train or coach, as opposed to travelling by car.
  • Fancy a holiday? Consider getting the train or paying a tiny bit more for a lower emissions flight.

Thinking of going vegan or incorporating more veggie meals?

I went vegan 2 years ago and here are some examples of what I’ve made, for some inspiration.

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Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes with Strawberries & Maple Syrup
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Homemade Vegan Pizza with Spinach Pesto, Seitan & Cheese
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Vegan Waffles with Berry Compote & Soya Yogurt
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Spicy Seitan Chunks with Quinoa, Roasted Carrots, Beetroot & Sautéed Spring Greens

Some other vegan breakfast options:

Scrambled tofu, baked beans & (vegan) buttery toast

Mixed berry smoothie bowl

Or if you’re after a good old Sunday lunch try Quorn ham and veggie sausage ‘pigs in blankets with all the trimmings!

How to get your pals on board

As well as the above options, you may be able to encourage your friends to get involved by introducing them to veggie meals, so we can all work together to be a little greener.

How can you do this? Invite them over and cook a veggie version of their favourite dish or take them out to eat at your favourite veggie place.

You can also share recipes with each other and ideas for meat substitutions. It’s all about educating each other in a kind and non-condescending manner!

You might also introduce your friends to student groups which are related to your interests and living greener.


The key to being more sustainable is taking small steps rather than implementing massive changes overnight. So learn what is manageable for you and don’t take on too much at once.

Have fun with recipes, experiment and share your successes with others.

Slipping up does not equal failure. Nobody is perfect, so you don’t need to be either!

A huge thanks to Olivia for providing us with these amazing tips and giving us all some ‘food for thought’ on living more sustainably, being greener and showing our World some love.


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