There’s no need to compromise your eco-principles when you're a student because there are some simple ways to live greener at college. I know you’ve got enough to cope with, what with classes, assignments, socializing, keeping house (even if it’s your dorm room) and maybe even holding down a job – but! These ways to live greener at college require little effort and you’ll feel better knowing your making your own little contribution to green issues - honestly!
1. Don’t Throw Your Notes out
If you are someone who writes notes by hand, one of the simplest ways to live greener at college is just to refrain from throwing out your notes. Whether you keep them for the future when they might be relevant again, or you recycle them in at a waste paper center, make sure you don’t just throw them in the trash. (p.s. – it would be even greener not to use paper notes at all!)
2. Only do Laundry when Your Basket is Full
So many college students think that by doing their laundry in small bits at a time, they are making their lives easier. While you might think that’s true, you are in fact adding to the strain on the environment through using an excessive amount of water. By filling your laundry machine up as much as possible, not only are you being green at college, you are saving money on detergent!
3. Take the Bus Where Possible
It might be more convenient to take your car to college every day when living off-campus, but look into taking the bus. You should find that buses run frequently to and from the campus, which will help you save money in the long-run and will also help reduce CO2 emissions. You can even consider getting a bicycle; that’s not only green but you’ll keep fit too!)
4. Keep the Bags You Are Given
College students are always having re-usable bags thrust into their arms, especially in the first few days of college. Keep these bags and re-use them throughout the year. If you have an excess at the end of the year, they can be used to transport your items home, or give them to your friends to do the same with.
5. Reduce Printing
Printing is extremely expensive at some colleges or if you have your own printer, so if you are looking for ways to live greener at college while on a budget, you should start by reducing the amount of printing you do. Ask your professors if you can submit papers by email, and if they decline, see if you can print on both sides of the paper. Reduce the margins and font, and you will be able to squeeze a lot more text onto a page.
6. Finish Your Food
I know that you are old enough to make these decisions for yourself now you’re at college, and I might be starting to sound like your mom, but try to finish the food you make at meal times. If you aren’t going to eat a whole bowl of pasta, don’t cook a whole bowl of pasta. Food waste places a lot of pressure on the environment, so always try to eat everything you cook or purchase at meal times. And, I know I might harp on about it, but this is another way you can save money.
7. Never Throw out Old Textbooks
One way to help the environment while at college is to keep your old textbooks. If you know that you will have absolutely no use for them in the future, try to sell it to your local library or department. If nobody wants to buy it (perhaps because there is a newer version available) take it to a thrift store which will be able to sell it on, or simply recycle it. Never just throw books into the trash.
I’d love to hear from students on the issue of being green in college. Is it important to you or not so much?