REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPAIR, RECYCLE, ROT
There are many R’s to Sustainable Living! Kōrero with your flatties early on about how you can collectively live sustainably during your time at Uni. These tips could be helpful for setting up a sustainable student flat.
It’s all a state of mind and it’s all about habits. Try and turn off the flow of waste into and out of your flat. Refuse, reduce, reuse and repair – make do with what you’ve got and tread lightly on Papatuanuku.
Refuse to consume wherever you can – simply say ‘no thanks’ to things you don’t need! Do you really need to collect every single promotional insect trading card from the supey? Refuse to accept them and let the supermarket take care of the waste!
Refuse packaging – When shopping, take and fill your own bags or boxes. You can often save a few bucks this way, too.
Reduce power consumption. http://powercompare.co.nz is great for picking up good deals and comparing power providers.
Reduce fossil fuel consumption. Travel by foot, bike, rideshare or bus – show student ID with bus card for 35% off! Dunedin actually has a great bus system.
Reduce waste. Choose bulk goods without packaging as much as you can, it’s cheaper that way, too. Bulk food stores all have dry and wet foods in bulk and non-food personal care items too. Eat as much of a food item as you can – eg chop up the broccoli stalks with the stirfry, toast the bread crusts, keep the peel on. Save leftovers for lunch!
Eat less meat to reduce your carbon emissions. For one meatless night, check out the inspiring plant-based food websites, try oat or soy or almond milk in your latte or $4 lunch upstairs at Clubs & Socs. Pulled jackfruit makes for a mean meat substitute at half the price.
Reduce the need to buy expensive packaged cleaners. Try making your own using inexpensive ingredients such as vinegar, salt baking soda, lemon juice. Check out ousasupporthub.org.nz for some DIY cleaning product recipes.
Reuse what already exists, rather than buying new. Buy second-hand whenever you can. Dunedin has great op-shops for furniture, costumes and clothes. Try second hand stores and Facebook Marketplace for some great deals. At the end of the year drop off unused items at OUSA Drop for Good. If you’re buying for a costume party, there’s no need to buy new.
Bring your Keep Cup to uni and also take-away lunch containers and cutlery.
Organise clothes swaps or other items amongst friends or close by flats. Put free items outside your gate or donate to op-shops around town and reuse and sell textbooks. OUSA Clubs and Socs also has a free corner for people to drop off and pick up items. Keep it all cycling around.
Rent your favourite labels rather than buying – check out Dunedin-based Instagram dress rental pages or set up your own.
Often if something breaks we have a habit of throwing it away. There are some cool places in Dunners where you can get help to repair your goods back to working condition or get them repaired eg. clothes, bikes, appliances and electronics. Broken Spoke by the Octagon can even help you fix up an old bike to take away, often for free.
Know what can be recycled in Dunedin and download the DCC Kerbside App. Yellow bins take rigid plastics #’s 1, 2 & 5, tin and aluminium cans and paper/cardboard. Blue bins take rinsed, unbroken glass – but no lids! The Proctor’s Office has spare blue bins for your flat if you need them. Campus Watch has two caged trailers, brooms, and shovels all available for students to use for free.
Check out https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/do-it-online/search/collection-days to find your collection days.
Reduce your methane gas creation! Start a flat or container garden and small compost heap in your own backyard. Remember to mix green (food scraps, weeds) and brown (leaves, straw etc) for best results.
Start up a Bokashi bucket or a small worm farm – tiger worms can be snagged from friends or online from Central Wormworx https://centralwormworx.com/. There’s no better feeling than using the internet to order a box of worms, trust us. DCC has good information on using these options at home https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/waste-minimisation/composting.
Food scraps can also be dropped to the KiaOra Peace Garden @ Albany St or the SEA Community Garden @139 Dundas St (search ‘Students for Environmental Action Otago’ on Facebook) and they run sunny Sunday working bees too!