Feel some love for the Earth and make your flatting experience something Captain Planet would be proud of! It can be tough to be an eco-warrior when you’re a poor student as you can’t always afford to shop with your morals, but there are plenty of ways to save the planet and save money at the same time.

Food Shopping

– Nobody likes plastic bags. Re-use them next time you go shopping, recycle them (there are special bins outside the supermarkets) or ditch them altogether in favour of reusable bags.
– Go for stuff that’s in recyclable packaging.
– Buy local produce at the Farmers’ Market next to the train station on Saturday mornings.
– Can’t get out of bed on a Saturday morning? There’s also Hinton’s fruit and veggie stall on campus outside the OUSA Main Office. They’re there on weekdays (weather permitting).

Grow Your Own Veggies

– Learn the skills and tricks at Dunedin’s Community Gardens on Shetland St. Call them to find out more on 478 0311
– Growing your own mini herb garden is pretty easy. You can get kits and seeds from places like The Warehouse.
– Even if you don’t have much of a yard, you can grow stuff in buckets!
– Go to sustainability.govt.nz, and click on “Gardening” for info and tips.

Op Shops and Buying Second Hand

Reduce costs by buying second hand stuff and reduce waste by donating your old gear to charity, selling it at the monthly OUSA Market day or Trademe. There are LOTS of second hand dealers and Op Shops in Dunedin. Check out the Dump shops where someone’s rubbish could be your treasure (ph 477 4000). They have all sorts of weird and wonderful bargains including perfect furniture for your flat and everything from candles shaped like Venus De Milo, to shoe racks, to bikes. Restore is the perfect op shop for cheap bargains (ph 03 477 3500).

Rubbish and Recycling: Where to Stick It

There are many places to put your rubbish other than Castle St. Your rubbish and recycling need to be out for kerbside collection by 7am on your rubbish day. If you live close to campus, your rubbish day is Monday. If you’re not sure, call the Dunedin City Council and check (ph 03 477 4000).
– Your flat should be provided with a blue recycling bin (glass bottles and jars only) and a wheelie bin (plastics 1-7, Paper and tins). If yours has gone walkabout, ask your landlord (nicely) for another one. If you’re finding it all a bit complicated, call DCC for details. Remember, the council doesn’t care how many bottles you put out – if they are not in the blue bin, they won’t collect them.
– Rubbish has to be put into official DCC rubbish bags. They WON’T take your rubbish if you put it in any old bag. You can buy DCC bags from OUSA cheap or from the supermarket for a slightly higher amount.
– The DCC can growl at you if you let rubbish spill onto the footpath.
– The DCC and the University put free-to-use rubbish skips around the student area three times a year: Orientation, the end of semester one, and the end of semester two. Use them!
– Recycling is FREE, rubbish bags aren’t. In short, recycling saves you money!

Make Your Own Household Cleaners and Save $$$$$

Invest in some reusable spray bottles, a crap load of budget white vinegar and a box of baking soda, and you’ll be able to clean almost anything
– Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 litre of white vinegar.
– Decant into a spray bottle
– Spray on to surfaces and wipe off with a clean cloth.
Vinegar Window Cleaner:
– Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar to one litre of water.
– Using white vinegar when cleaning glass or windows stops awful streaks from grease build-up.
Remove Lime residue:
– Electric jugs and irons build up lime deposits over time. When they get really bad, fill them with white vinegar and turn them on.
– Turn off before rinsing.
– Rinse it out, fill with fresh water and run it again.
Drain Cleaner:
– Boil two cups of vinegar and pour it down the drain a small amount at a time.
– Allow the vinegar to remain in the drain for about 5—10 minutes before pouring a pot of very hot water down the drain.
– The alternative is to use ½ cup of baking soda poured into the drain followed by ½ cup of warm vinegar.
– Cover the drain and allow to stand for 5—10 minutes before running cold water down the drain.

General Cleaning Tips

– Put an open box of baking soda in your fridge. This will help to get rid of any nasty odours.
– Rubbing baking soda directly onto clothing removes the smell of vomit.
– Lemon juice mixed with vinegar and/or baking powder can be used as a cleaning paste for dishes, surfaces and stains
– Salt poured directly onto carpet can soak up red wine spills