In today’s dynamic world and tense/difficult political climate we debate issues and take sides, but to me one universal issue is protecting the environment. Not to take away from other important issues….but we literally only have one (livable) Earth. And the damage cannot be undone. Although it can be a daunting task to think about saving the world or the Earth from your college dorm, taking little steps towards a more eco friendly lifestyle can really help cut waste and form good habits. Below I’ve created a list of eco friendly tips I personally try to practice and find easily manageable as a college student!
10 Eco Friendly Tips:
If there’s one thing I cannot stress enough is that waste can drastically be reduced just by simply switching to reusable items. When you go shopping, bring reusable bags…in fact, some cities now offer money back for bringing them. (Did you know it takes 500-1,000 years for one bag to decompose?). The other day my roommate and I realized we actually needed a plastic bag and have none because we always use reusable ones. Instead of buying plastic bottled water, invest in a reusable bottle and a Brita filter. Rather than going through multiple plastic baggies in ever lunch, swap them out for a container. Not only do these methods help you go green, they also are easier on the wallet in the long run…double win!
You’ve heard it a thousand times, reduce, reuse, recycle. But seriously it takes all of 10 seconds to separate out your plastic containers or cardboard boxes from the rest of the trash. Every bit helps and here’s a handy guide on what can/can’t be recycled.
How many times a day do you find yourself Googl-ing things? Switch your default browser to Blackle.com! This is the same as Google, but uses a black background and a greyer font to reduce power wattage.
Turn off your lights and unplug
Sometimes going eco friendly starts with the simple flick of a light or unplug of an unused charger. I always check to make sure my lights are turned off and chargers are out of the outlet.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Fun fact: 75% of the energy it takes to do a load of laundry comes from heating the water up. While certain loads, bright whites and permanent press, may require warm water other items like darker clothing actually fair better washed with cold water. Consider switching over and drastically reducing the energy for laundry.
Reduce waste: buy only what you need
Does it pain anyone else to throw away spoiled food or leftovers that can’t be used? In my post on saving money in college, I mentioned doing grocery shopping in smaller amounts to cut down on waste. Shopping in smaller quantities, and knowing what you realistically will go through, helps reduce food that ends up in the trash!
Go double sided
It’s no secret that college students take a lot of notes and print lots of material in four years. Although laptops have reduced this quite a bit, still be conscious of how much paper you are going through. Take notes on both sides and print double sided when the opportunity comes, literally halving the paper used.
Carpool / ride-share…or better yet go by foot!
While driving is of course a necessity at times, it doesn’t have to be your primary mode of transportation. Using public transportation or car-pooling services such as Uber-Pool help cut down on carbon emissions and can save money. If walking or biking is an option, opt for that! I love walking places in the city, especially in the spring weather, combining exercise with the ultimate environmental friendly option.
Stop the water drip
Nothing might be more annoying than a leaky faucet so what are you waiting for…call maintenance or figure out how to fix it! A constantly dripping faucet just wastes water for absolutely no purpose. Other eco friendly tips on ways to cut down on water waste including shutting the sink off when you brush your teeth, reducing shower time, and doing the dishes by hand.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While of course we all love shopping and buying things sparkling new, opting for used items helps reduce environmental waste. Order textbooks through rental sites like Chegg, or used via Amazon. Instead of throwing away clothes you no longer wear, donate them instead to a local thrift store.