Getting ready to throw yourself back into that world of dorming? And do you care about the environment? Well, good luck. Being green, in some dorms, is pretty freakin’ hard. Recycling bins are nowhere to be found, resources are being wasted left and right and most of the kids around you don’t care.
That doesn’t mean you have to throw in the non-recyclable towel. There are so many things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and give back to Mother Earth. Here are some tips to help the planet and inspire your peers to do the same:
1. Skip the single serving snack-packs. Get a big bag and make your own single-serving portion in a small plastic bag when you’re on the go. Wash the bag out when you’re done and do it again the next time. It’s that easy.
2. Chill out with the AC. Tons of college students keep their AC’s running just because they can. That’s not cool! (Note: yes, the pun was intended.) Don’t act like a monkey when it comes to the environment. Leaving your AC running while you’re out hurts the planet regardless of whether or not you’re paying the bill.
3. Turn off your computer. I know, I know. It’s so tempting to leave your AIM on all day long so your friends can leave you little messages and see which classes you’re in, etc. BUT (there is always a “but”), it’s better for the planet and your computer if you just shut it off when you leave.
4. Buy used books. Not only is buying new books bad for the environment (because it supplies a demand for deforestation), but it’s also way more expensive than buying used books. Plus, used books may already have tons of helpful notes scribbled in the margins, which will help a ton come finals.
5. Take notes on your computer. Bring your laptop to class and take notes on it instead of in a notebook. Not only will you save on paper (again, good for your wallet and the environment), but if you’re anything like me, you’ll have much more organized notes.
6. Bring your own cup. It’s really easy yet so many people don’t do this. Have a mug in your bag for coffee when you make a stop before class. Just because you need to stop at Starbucks doesn’t mean that you have to use one (or two) of their paper cups with the logo on it. And if you do need to wear the logo, buy one of their mugs and use that each time. (You can also carry your own container for water from the fountain, sodas, or whatever else you drink.)
7. Avoid the bottled beer. When you’re out at the bar buy anything but the bottled beer. Beer on tap, for example, gets put into big pint glasses. The bar washes them and reuses them. Your Corona Light, however, ends up in the garbage and who knows whether or not your local college bar recycles. (Editor’s Note: It most likely does not.)
8. Read your school newspaper online. In fact, read all your entertainment online. You can get newspapers, magazines, entertainment, and even books online these days. There’s hardly an excuse to buy print media, especially considering the fact that it drains our resources from the planet.
9. Ask your teacher about email. When I was in college, it was totally acceptable to email my professors my homework assignments and papers. Many teachers prefer grading things online and not having to deal with shuffling papers from classroom to classroom. Don’t print out anything you don’t need to (class syllabus, assignments and review sheets included).
10. Buy used. This applies to more than just your books. It applies to your clothes, your furnishings, your bike, your car…everything. A lot of people think that they can’t have a leather coat and also be Green, but that is not true! Used things have already been made; it’s worse to let them go to waste than to not use them at all. Keep that in mind before you buy anything brand new again.
It can be hard to have a positive influence on those around you in college, but believe me it’s much better to try to do the right thing and hope people follow than to just follow. Lead by example and show everyone else how easy going Green can be.