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The time is nigh for me to move out of the parental abode and into university accommodation! With the independence will come the possibility of properly implementing a green way of living. Here at home, we don't have such displays of domestic eco-friendliness but uni will hopefully inspire more soon-to-be undergraduates, like myself, to go green.


Here are five pointers to help you, as a live-out student, towards a more sustainable lifestyle...

1. Buy second-hand textbooks
Whatever your subject, chances are the prices of your textbooks will chomp a sizeable bite out of your budget. Before you hit the book store, browse the net for ex-students flogging their used books for less. There's a slight chance your search will yield little as new edition replaces old edition rapidly but it's worth a shot. My graduate brother hoardes his Law tomes for no apparent reason - I think they remind him of richer times.

2. Recycle, recycle, recyle
Things'll most likely be a bit manic throughout the prime cut of your settling in at uni but when you get a moment, do locate your nearest recycling post. With studying being quite common among students, you will get through a lot more paper than you care to. Pot Noodles too. And beer cans. And coffee jars (okay now I'm just speaking for myself.) But really, try and get into the habit of separating and recycling, Also, try to use the back of rough paper instead of binning it - god knows how many times your tutor wants you to emend that thesis.

3. Leave your car keys/travel pass at home

Okay that's probably not too wise or commendable realistically as you might need a speedier travel alternative than foot should an emergency arise. The point, is walk to your lectures even if the bus stop is literally a stone's throw from your front door. I'm a 25 minute walk from my classes but the campus consists of luscious greenery, which I'm a sucker for, and whispers too of rabbits that scamper about merrily. So I'm not complaining. Plus it's money saved. (Also looking to tone the legs a little.)

4. Green societies and clubs
For the devout greengoers primarily, societies given to sustainable living are an essential. Join or, in the event that there isn't one, your shining moment as founder awaits you. The group can share ideas on greener living, fundraise and - here's a crowdpleaser - drink in the name of eco-living. A-free-shot-for-every-recycling-trip game? Recycling bins would be brimming!

5. Don't make plastic cups a long-term thing

Or plates and cutlery for that matter. Plastic cups may see you through your pre-carnage warm-up sessions amongst flatmates, particularly at the start, but don't continue to use them just because they mean less washing-up. They pile up on both the waste and your budget.

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Make your office greener in five simple steps

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On our daily quest to find the eco movements out there we came across Green Office Week - yes there is a week for everything these days.

It's all good being green at home, but what is the state of your office? A 2010 Avery environmental survey found that one in three office workers has a lazy attitude when it comes to looking after the environment at work, despite 69% believing that being eco-friendly at work will make a substantial difference to the environment.

Simply by making a few small changes you can make a difference to the environment - something we all should be doing every day of the year. Green Office Week (GOW) runs from Monday 9th May to Friday 13th May this year and is encouraging you to make your office greener by daily themes. So why not use this year's Green Office Week as a start to a greener office environment!

Check out the gallery below to see how you can make your office greener in just five steps!

rocket.jpgA great gift for boys and girls - both young and old. This cool space explorer kit is made up of fourteen easy to assemble wooden parts to build and paint - making your own rocket!

There's more. The box is printed on the inside layer with cut out shapes to make a space mobile with!

Talk about a great way to reduce packaging and make recycling fun.

Feeling artistic? Get the space rocket kit from Pea Green Things for £14.00.

Photo: Pea Green Things

birdcage lamps.jpgIn the admittedly unlikely event that you have an old birdcage lying around, there are some really rather wonderful ways you can upcycle this symbol of avian oppression, turning it into something quite beautiful. I've noticed this lighting trend cropping up in a few places recently, and it got me wondering how complicated it would be to make one of my own. So I looked around a few how-to sites and found absolutely dozens of ideas, each one unique, but most pretty straightforward to assemble.

Here are two very different ideas for turning birdcages into lamps: the first uses the cage as a base unit for the lamp itself, whilst the second has had its inner bits removed and replaced with a string of LED lights; a fantastically simple idea!

Follow the jump for more ideas and some great examples of birdcage lamps!

fridge curtain.jpgIf you're hoping to save energy in the home this year, don't forget that fridges make heat and heat takes energy. There are some useful tips here on how to get the best from your fridge without letting it suck up too much juice from the grid, but Treehugger drew my attention today to a simple way of preventing cold air escaping from the fridge while it's open.

It's a special curtain you can make for your fridge by doctoring the sort more commonly used in showers. I imagine it would be great for keeping out curious pets, too!

Related: How to make your fridge a greener place | Friday fun: turn the bloody fridge off

YardstickRack.jpgHome repurposing needn't be complicated: it can be as quick and easy as you like, and still every bit as worthwhile in terms of the materials you'll save.

This yardstick coatrack is a good example of a really simple project that uses up old stuff you may have around the house, or can source at flea markets or by deconstructing old bits of furniture. You can find a tutorial for this one here. [Via Crafty Crafty]

Related: From cupboard door to serving tray | how to turn old drawers into a stylish modular bookcase | re-vamp an old picture frame

on_ottoman2-thumb-410x307.jpgContinuing in our quest to find great new uses for old stuff around the house, I wanted to share this great idea from Crafty Nest, who've posted a tutorial on turning an old cupboard door into a stylish and useful serving tray - one that would be a godsend for anyone with hordes of relatives coming round at Christmas. What I like best about this project is that every element of the original item is used in the new one, with the drawer pulls becoming functional handles on the tray - a sure sign of good repurposing.

Full instructions on how to turn a cupboard door into a tray can be found here [Via Crafty Crafty]

Related: Repurposed home #3: Kitchen | Repurposed home #2: funky and functional furniture | Repurposed home #1: lighting

shower puff dress.pngWe've had a great response to this project over on Crafty Crafty, even if I'm not at all sure I'd want to don it myself.

Shower puffs, you see, are like pipe cleaners, safety pins and egg boxes, in that they seem to have been almost invented for crafty types. Yes, they do have that scrubbie-washing feature as well, but crafters love to put them to more creative uses. And since they're also a menace to dispose of, I can only approve. Threadbanger are responsible for the tutorial on how to make this dress, which could just suffice for a credit crunch, eco chic Christmas party frock if you're desperate!

Related: Recycled crafting is 'the new knitting' | Focus on craft for a greener future

LooseDrawerRevamp2.jpgSeen from a distance, you'd be forgiven for thinking this stylish storage system was an original piece of '60s minimalist furniture, or bought from an expensive, quirky furniture store. But no: it's upcycling at its most basic, made by simply placing old drawers from a disused dresser found on freecycle on top of each other after giving them a lick of paint and some new lining.

The result is just so funky it makes me want to go home right now and start tearing chests of drawers from the walls and messing around with them. Visit the owner's blog, Crafty Nest to see some inspiring 'before and after' shots.

Related: Repurposed home #3: kitchen | Repurposed home #2: Funky and functional furniture | Repurposed home #1: lighting

Wrapping paper has got to be one of the most blatant displays of waste that Christmas subjects us to, and the number of trees that have given their lives to conceal our presents at Christmas alone has been estimated to be as high as 50,000. You can help the situation by re-using old paper, or buying only recycled giftwrap. But an even better solution is using fabric that can be re-used to make your own beautifully wrapped gifts.

In the video below, Recycle Now takes you through one option: the Japanese art of fabric-wrapping: Furoshiki.

Furoshiki gift wrapping from RecycleNow on Vimeo.

Related: Make your own eco-friendly Christmas wrapping paper | Dreaming of a green Christmas (but can't afford it)?

junk mail art.jpgAfter wading through a most unwelcome mountain of junk mail as I attempted to leave the house this morning, I was very much cheered to stumble on this piece of artwork, made by creating a collage entirely out of 'direct marketing' leaflets. The process to create this eyecatching piece of contemporary art is astonishingly simple, and has been documented stage by stage here.

It certainly made me want to get out my scissors and have a go, but if you'd like to rid your life of unwanted mail without going to quite so much effort, remember you can always sign up with the Mail Preference Service.

[Via Re-nest]

recycled bath mat.jpgFeet starting to feel a bit chilly as you stagger out for your morning shower? A fluffy bathmat makes the whole experience a whole lot more bearable, but in my experience it's hard to find one that isn't made of synthetic fluff (or horribly expensive). No prizes for guessing what I'm about to suggest as a solution then! But did you know you can make a great bath mat out of an old towel? Towels are bulky and can be hard to dispose of responsibly, so this is a lovely recycling project that you won't regret embarking on.

Follow the jump to find out how

[Via Ecologue]

doily_bags2.jpgIndie Fixx featured a great idea for making shopping bags from recycled materials this week: they've used old doilies, fresh from granny's table, and sewn them to a basic drawstring bag top made from vintage fabric.This gives you a really cute, folksy looking bag that would be perfect for shopping trips in true, eco-friendly style. The tutorial is here, with detailed step-by-step instructions. [via Crafty Crafty]

Feeling lazy? You can also buy these bags pre-made on Etsy for $15 a throw.

Related: How to make a fabric shopping bag | How to crochet with plastic bags

green_shoes.jpgIf you don't already know about the fabulous Green Shoes, the main aim of this cool company is to make sustainable, long-lasting shoes that are the comfiest you'll ever wear. When you order a pair, not only can you send your basic measurements; you can also draw around your own feet and send in the drawing to get the sizing absolutely spot-on. And now, Green Shoes is planning to open up the doors of its workshop so you can have a go at making your own. Follow the jump for details on this fabulous event!

candydishlg1.jpgThis quick and easy craft by RePlayGround transforms the bottom of soda bottles into really cute candy dishes. The ribbons make all the difference!

I'd also love to use this for dips, and other titbits. Or even to store jewellery neatly across my dresser. The possibilities for pretty little containers are endless!

Via Crafty | Craftzine

Related: Pin plus button equals brooch! | How To: Make a gorgeous notebook from a tea-tin

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