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Living green: How to make your digs more eco- friendly

recycleBy Youlendree Appasamy

Living in digs can be a great opportunity to incorporate eco-friendly tips and tricks into your student life. Activate has put together a short guide to help you live a more eco-friendly life this year.

Recycling is a cost-efficient way to reduce waste. Since 2011, Rhodes University has instituted a recycling collection service. The recycling service routes and drop-off points can be seen on this map. Alongside this university initiative, the Makana Municipality has a two-bag recycling system in place.

Recyclable materials such as paper, glass bottles and cans (all cleaned) should be placed in an orange or clear plastic bag and all non-recyclable items should be placed in a black bag. Both bags should be left out on the usual garbage collection days.

From living in one of the apartment blocks in town to a granny flat in the suburbs, here are some nifty environmentally-conscious tips from the Oppidan office:

  • Switch off all lights and appliances when leaving a room
  • Use an electric blanket or hot water bottle instead of a heater
  • Use energy saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), instead of incandescent lighting.
  • Turn the temperature on your geyser down to 60 degrees Celsius. Your water will still be warm and this saves on geyser energy consumption
  • When re-heating food use a microwave instead of the stove as this uses less energy.
  • Walk or cycle wherever you go.
  • Use your printer wisely – double sided printing and use low quality printing for everyday notes.
  • Limit the use of disposable plates, cups and serviettes.


To give you a more personal take on green living, here are some tips from digs students themselves:

Jamie Eray 3rd year BA student

“We have water tanks in our garden. Start a veggie patch. Use dirty water to water plants, handwash small clothes, and don’t use the tumbledryer. Always recycle. A cool thing to do is use old wine bottles as candle holders. Vintage looking tins, vases, pots, bowls and cups all lend a rustic feel to the digs and also reduces rubbish.”

Jason Mackay 3rd year BA Law student

“Walk to gym and find a digs that is centrally located so that you can walk to places instead of driving. Also, switching off lights can save a lot of money on electricity”

Anna Kharuchas 3rd year BJourn student

“I doubt I will be making any great efforts to go green beyond the basics such as switching on the geyser only when needed, saving electricity by unplugging electronics. This year will be my first year in digs so any efforts to be green will be learned and done as I get use to living by myself.”

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