How to be Green in College

By: Cassandra Heikkila

Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, on campus or off, going green in college can be hard. Maintaining that green life in college is even harder. But with these simple tips you can keep your carbon footprint down and your eco-lifestyle thriving.

Water Conservation– This is a phrase you always hear when learning about going green. And with only 1% of water on Earth available for human consumption, it’s a pretty important phrase. When taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or washing dishes cut down on the tap, way down.

Electronic Note taking- While having a fresh notebook to start a semester is a nice feeling, it’s not exactly green. And at the end of the year when you have about half of your notebook unused, it’s just wrong. By taking notes on your computer you’re saving tons of paper. But if you really can’t do electronic note taking, buy some recycled notebooks from brands like Scout Books.

Drinking Life- If you’re drinking in college there are some steps you can take to take your drinking to a whole greener level. When out at bars, buy beer on tap rather than in bottles, which most likely wont be recycled.  If drinking at home, recycle bottles at your local recycling center. And if you want to be super green you can purchase some reusable red solo cups for all of your drinking game needs.

Donate Your Clothes/Items- When the weather starts to change or you’re just in the mood for some new looks, go through your closet and take out any clothes you know you’re not going to wear and donate them. Do the same with your end of the year stuff you don’t want anymore. Would you want those clothes and dorm items you spent decent money on sitting in a landfill somewhere? That’s right, you wouldn’t.  Donating is great not only because someone else gets to thrift some new items but also your stuff won’t be left in a landfill and avoids waste from production.

Electronic Homework- Classes need a lot of paper; from your syllabus to tests, I’m sure your folders are just as full as mine. To cut down on this ask your professor if its okay for you to turn in electronic homework through email or sites like Blackboard. If he/she says its okay, then awesome. If he/she says no, encourage them to try switching to electronic in the future.

Used Books- Making a book takes a lot of wood and consumes a lot energy so when buying new textbooks think about switching to electronic if you have a kindle, iPad, etc., buying used textbooks or renting textbooks from the bookstore.

Do it in the Dark- Turning off the lights whenever they are not needed actually does a lot in terms of going green. It saves energy lessening global warming and lengthens the life of your bulbs, saving money and production energy. So, do everyone a favor and do it in the dark a little more often.

Invest in Reusable- Reusable water bottles will save you about $550 every year. If that’s not enough to convince you to switch to reusable I don’t know what will. From the money you save to saving the planet reusable bags and water bottles are the way to go.

Unsubscribe– I don’t know about you, but last month I realized how much junk mail I get in my mail every week. It was a lot.  I took some simple steps and unsubscribed from the stuff I didn’t need. The amount of junk mail American’s receive each day could heat 250,000 homes. So, take some time and unsubscribe.

Buy a washcloth- Washcloth’s are more useful in college than you think. From washing your dishes, to drying your hands, to cleaning up mysterious after-party spills, replacing paper towels with a washcloth eliminates a lot of  unnecessary waste.

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