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The graduate’s guide to London: Sustainability

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With London’s population set to reach 10 million by the year 2030, the pressure to improve pollution levels, reduce waste and tackle climate change in the city is higher than ever.

And London is well on track to becoming one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the world.

With Sadiq Khan’s strategy in place to make it a zero-carbon city that is at least 50 percent green by 2050, London is quickly moving towards a more sustainable future.

If you’re looking for graduate jobs in London, or you’re already living in the city, there are a number of ways to be more sustainable when you’re deciding where to go in London – and save money at the same time.

Read on for our top sustainability tips, or head back to our guide to working in London.

Where to go in London

If you can walk or cycle to work instead of driving or taking public transport, you’ll instantly be cutting down your carbon footprint – as well as getting fitter, saving money, and boosting your mood and concentration throughout the rest of the day.

If you’re deciding where to live in London, consider how far it is to commute to work.

If it’s possible to live somewhere within 2 miles of your graduate job, walking to work should be fairly feasible – at least in the summer months.

If you’re already living in the city and your work is too far away to walk or cycle every day, why not set yourself a challenge – can you walk or cycle once per week, maybe even just for half of your journey?

Once you know where to go in London you can start to navigate your journey so that it is more environmentally friendly.


Choose eco-friendly activities

Over the weekend, thousands of Londoners take a break from their graduate jobs to go out, socialise and take advantage of the range of activities on offer in the city.

These will often include going shopping, to a bar, out for dinner, and taking Ubers or black cabs – all of which can be detrimental to the environment.

So when you’re deciding where to go in London, why not choose weekend activities that also happen to be eco-friendly?

There are a number of easy weekend switches that will drastically cut down your carbon footprint, without impacting your social life:

  • Go to your local pub instead of one that is further away
  • Go for a picnic in a nearby park instead of going out for brunch
  • Hire Santander bikes and cycle along a canal instead of getting a bus or tube
  • Arrange for friends to come over and cook a vegetarian meal at your house instead of going out to eat at a chain restaurant
  • Visit charity or vintage shops instead of heading to the high street


Shop for food more sustainably

Each time you shop for food, you’ll be forced to make choices that will impact the environment in one way or another.

There are many different ways you can make more eco-friendly choices if you know where to go in London:

  • Choose seasonal foods with low air miles
  • Wherever possible, choose packaging-free products
  • Head to one of London’s many farmer’s markets
  • Always carry a reusable shopping bag
  • Buy less meat and dairy products


Encourage sustainable initiatives at work

If you’ve started working in a new graduate job, why not suggest some initiatives to be more eco-friendly in your office?

Whether it’s asking to buy a new recycling bin, suggesting a meat-free Monday lunch, or getting the team involved in a park clean-up, suggesting some eco-friendly initiatives will not only help you and your colleagues to be more sustainable but will also help you to build relationships in your new job.


Cut down your shower time

The average shower (8.2 minutes) uses 17.2 gallons of water – so cutting down how long you spend showering in the morning will save a huge amount of water.

If you find that you tend to lose track of time, invest in a shower radio – and try to get out after 1-2 songs.

Likewise, if your shower has an on-off switch, turn it off while you are shampooing – this will not only drastically reduce how much water you waste, but will also cut down on your water bill.


Use a renewable energy provider

Speaking of, it’s well-known that bills in London can add up – and switching to a renewable energy provider like Bulb or Ecotricity can save huge amounts on your yearly bill.

Plus, choosing green energy will decrease your impact on the environment and drastically reduce your carbon footprint, without you even noticing any difference!


Download eco-friendly apps

Remembering to be eco-conscious in a busy city like London can be tricky – but the digital world has responded.

There are now a huge number of apps you can download to remind you to be sustainable, wherever you are – here are some of our favourites:

  • Karma / Too Good To Go – Both allow you to find leftover food from many different popular restaurants, for half the usual price
  • Refill – Locates water bottle refilling stations nearby so you don’t have to buy plastic bottles
  • Giki – Gives you information about the products you buy and how sustainable they are


Take lunch into work

The convenience of going out and getting food at lunchtime can be hugely damaging to the environment – and taking lunch in a reusable container will not only reduce how much plastic you use but will also save you a lot of money.

If you are going to buy lunch at your graduate job, try to choose something with as little packaging as possible, recycle it, and don’t waste any food!


Invest in a reusable water bottle

Just one plastic bottle can take hundreds of years to fully decompose, so investing in a reusable water bottle, which you keep on you at all times, is an effective way to stop yourself buying plastic bottles.

In the long-term, this will not only decrease your carbon footprint but could save you hundreds, even thousands, of pounds per year!


If you’re considering graduate jobs in London, there are a number of ways to be more sustainable and save yourself money – all without damaging your social life. 

Find more graduate career advice on our careers advice blog – or check out our jobs board to have a look for graduate jobs UK-wide!

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