The Sustainable Six: Everyday actions to be more sustainable in Durham

The environmental issues we face today are graver than ever. The scale of the disaster is so overwhelming that apathy towards it is the simplest solution. This is our reality but these simple, every day actions can be incorporated into your daily lives in Durham to help ensure the sustainability of our planet and our basic human right to environmental security.


  1. Food. A simple step is to buy your fruit and vegetables from places such as the green grocers on North Road, Robinson’s. This not only reduces plastic packaging but supports local businesses. Durham students also get 10% off so win, win. In addition to this, a key area of sustainability is seafood. Buy seafood from stores that source from ethical fishers, backed by the Marine Conservation Society. Seafood slavery is a massive concern as ‘many workers are trafficked into Thailand from neighbouring countries including Burma, Cambodia and Laos’ (EJF) for unsustainable fishing practices.

  2. Reusable products. The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. Buying a reusable flask/cup is not only a very effective way to reduce plastic consumption, but also a way to save money! Lots of coffee shops in Durham offer a Discount when you bring your own cup in. Frank&Green offer great customisable reusable coffee cups. This is the same for water bottles. We’re lucky enough to have clean drinking water from our taps and so there’s no reason not to carry a reusable water bottle around Durham with you. Onegreenbottle sell minimalistic stylish designs and are a sustainable company. Renewable products are something we all as individuals can incorporate into our daily lives. In conjunction with this, avoiding the use of plastic straws and bringing reusable bags with you when shopping.

  3. Charity Shops. Supporting our local charity shops is a further measure that not only helps support charities and small businesses, but a way we can sustainably express ourselves with some real gems. We must be aware of fast-fashion and the detrimental impact the industry has on our environment. Unsustainable consumerism creates massive waste, as ‘in season’ trends quickly fall ‘out of season’ and end up in landfill sites. In Durham there are lots of brilliant charity shops like Oxfam the Red Cross among others.

  4. Student Initiatives. As well as the charity shops in town, it’s important to support upcoming sustainable student initiatives. For example, DeMoo Jeans breathe new life into old jeans by revamping them with their funky designs. Now they also custom design headbands. Then there’s Durdress, a free anonymous peer to peer dress rental platform. On the group you can upload your old dresses and rent them out for some extra cash or rent one for yourself for an upcoming formal or ball. The best thing about it: this group takes no cut of your money, it's literally a platform just to connect people and cut down the amount of dresses bought from the fast fashion industry.

  5. Volunteer. Another way to engage with the local community and encourage a more eco-friendly Durham is through volunteering. Durham’s food bank take donations from cafes/restaurants around Durham to reduce waste and feed the homeless on our streets. They’re always looking for volunteers.

  6. Walking/Cycling. This is a super easy one in Durham. Any way we can reduce our carbon footprint can go a long way. If you need to, take the public bus, which offers a discounted rate on many journeys if you present your campus card on board.

We mustn’t underestimate our power as individuals. Consume consciously as a Durham student and help us #pullthethread with DUCFS.

Ella Turney