When it comes to furnishing or equipping your Erasmus accommodation, the first point of contact will be the landlord or current tenants. It is important to get as much information as possible about the furnishing of the flat before departure, as this makes it easier to plan what you need to source when you get there and what can be brought from home. Once you’ve got the list of the things that you will need, try to find out about swap or second-hand markets in advance so that it is not necessary to buy new things on-site and items can be taken from departing Erasmus students.
Before departure, it is important to know if items such as duvets, towels, hoovers or dishes are in your accommodation and if not, where you can get them from in the most sustainable way.
Beyond sourcing furnishings, it is also important to consider how the items you buy are made and, if you buy from big furniture retailers, how sustainable their production is. If you buy a new product, you have to be aware that, for example, one chair can emit 27kg of carbon dioxide during its production. That amount is equivalent to driving over 100 kilometres with an average car. At the same time, over 9 million tonnes of furniture are thrown away every year, most of which are only 10 to 15 years old.
A good way to find products and companies that sell sustainable products is to look at the European Ecolabel catalogue. The ECAT is a list of companies that have been awarded the EU Ecolabel for their products and services.
Actions you can take
- Ask your landlord how the accommodation is furnished. In this way, you can find out if you have to take bedding, towels or other things with you, or if you need to source any furniture.
- Try to get in touch with previous tenants. Through contact, you can either buy items from them or find out what you need to bring with you - avoiding buying new things.
- Find out about swap markets or swap groups at your Erasmus university or city. If there are such markets or groups, you have the opportunity to get items from other students who are about to finish their Erasmus.
- If you are abroad and realise you still need items, check online second-hand sites. In this way, you avoid buying new things and save money. For example, check out Facebook-Marketplace or eBay
- When you're searching for new products, look at the European Ecolabel catalogue and look for products that have been produced sustainably.