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Students find being environmentally friendly too expensive, says survey

2nd July 2015

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This is the decade of green. Businesses, charities and individuals are all focused on the colour that can change our world. We learn “reduce, reuse and recycle” in our earliest years of schooling, and for a significant portion of uni-aged students, this phrase has stuck.

According to the Unite Student Insight Report 2015, one third of university applicants and undergraduates feel that environmentally friendly living is either very or extremely important. But various factors lead to students failing to uphold their goal of this emerald lifestyle.

Almost three quarters of university applicants are turned off from green living by the cost, claiming being environmentally friendly can’t fit financially with their lifestyles. For undergraduates this is a main concern for just under one third of students. After beginning university and surrounding themselves with other students day and night, the main reason for a lack of green living becomes the habits of other flatmates.

But students are still open to adjustment and look for ways to change their lifestyle patterns. Two thirds of applicants and three fifths of undergraduates believe they would be more environmentally friendly if they’re offered rewards or incentives, while 30% would step up their game if faced with punishments.

Motivation also comes with age. 39% of increasingly independent third year students rated environmental conservation important compared to a slightly less third of freshers. Third years were also more likely to ditch the end prize of a pizza party and pick up environmentally friendly habits by additional information on sustainability, the provision of cycle storage, and green technologies visibly in use.

We can be confident in a growing number of green supporters as students grow in independence and knowledge - but to get more early students on board conservation must be the cheaper, if not through easier and more regularly implemented routes.

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