Do your part to save the earth—while saving a lot of money!
As a college student, and that’s if you’re attending a traditional brick and mortar college or earning a college degree online and living at home, you can make some simple lifestyle changes to give back to Mother earth. You can do your part by giving back to the environment in several small ways that actually fit into the lifestyle of a college student quite well—because, well, you’ll be basically living more economically. Plus, taking care of the planet will help you feel good about making a small difference.
Regardless of if you’re a penny-pinching freshman or a hard-core environment activist—here are six great earth-friendly tips for living the life of a green college student:
1. Recycle: It’s quite simple to encourage recycling in your dormitory or in your school cafeteria—and it’s a great excuse to meet new people as well. If you don’t already have a recycle program at your school, ask your college Registrar how you can get one started. It’s really quite simple:
- Choose a central spot—locations close to traffic areas or food services stations are the best
- Label several trash cans—a few for garbage waste and a few others for biodegradable and recyclable items
- You can also be more obvious and label containers for papers and cardboard, plastic bottles and cans and composted items
2. Reuse rather than toss out: Before you throw out that used plastic bottle ask yourself, “Can I reuse that for the gym?” Before you throw away anything, start questioning your actions. Items like:
- Scratch paper
- Assignments and essays
- Plastic bags
- Plastic utensils
These can all be reused (i.e., you can use the opposite side of your papers to write your grocery lists or reuse plastic water to tote to class). Not only will you save a lot of cash by reusing every items; you will also reduce your garbage footprint.
3. Conserve water: Going green as a college student is not just about reusing and recycling—it’s also about conserving water and other natural earth resources. You can reduce your water usage in these simple ways:
- Close the faucet after you wash your hands
- Only fill up the bath to the level you need—don’t leave the tap running
- Have any leaky faucets repaired
- Instead of taking a shower, use the bathtub or your sink and a wash cloth
- Take quick showers
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your hair
All of these tips will save water—and a great deal of money on your utility bills as well!
4. Conserve energy: The same tips for water can be used for electricity conservation:
- Turn off all lights when you leave the room and house
- Unplug electronic devices before you go to bed or go away for the weekend
- Limit appliance use to one at a time—for instance, using the microwave and coffee machine at the same time uses up almost double the electricity
- Install energy-saving appliances—such as incandescent bulbs instead of fluorescent light bulbs, and dimmer switches instead of one-level electrical switches
5. Carpool, walk, bike or take local transit: If everyone drives to your college campus, you can just imagine how much this increases air pollution. Try these alternatives to cut down on gas emissions:
- Carpool to campus with your friends
Set up a drive share schedule with your classmates
- Get a bus pass and use public transit (bus or subway)
- Get your exercise and commute in at once—walk, bike or roller blade to campus
These commuting tips will not only save on parking fees and gas costs—it will also increase your health and decrease your carbon footprint.
6. Volunteer to plant trees: Community organizations in almost every single city have a goal to plant trees (e.g., The Arbor Day Foundation). Volunteer tree-planters help improve air quality and add to our cities beautiful landscapes.