As a student, there are lots of things you can do to be more environmentally friendly. Whether you’re participating in campus recycling or practicing conservation in your dorm room, you can make a difference. Read on to learn about 101 ways to go green in college.
Try these ways to take advantage of recycling on campus.
- Look for recycling bins: Use recycling bins around campus and create one for your room.
- Recycle your electronics: Don’t throw away your old cell phone or laptop-find a recycling center.
- Know recycling rules: Make sure you don’t send in anything that can’t be processed.
- Recycle paper: Even in this digital age, students generate lots of paper-be sure it finds its final place in a recycling bin.
These tips will help you reuse what you already have access to.
- Don’t throw away good stuff: Use sites like Craigslist and Freecycle to get rid of your old items.
- Reuse paper: Use back sides of paper for scraps and more.
- Donate supplies to artists: Give paper towel tubes, rubber bands, even oven doors to artists who can use them.
- Repurpose items: Use empty cans for pencil holders, turn old shoe boxes into storage, and more.
- Get used textbooks: Get used textbooks from stores, classmates, or websites.
With these tips, you can reduce the waste you generate.
- Be thrifty: Shop at a thrift store to reuse old items and avoid waste from production.
- Buy green: Buy recycled products whenever possible.
- Be picky: Don’t buy lots of unnecessary items-you’ll save money and the environment.
- Carry a refillable water bottle: Instead of buying plastic water bottles each day, bring your own to refill.
These are some of the ways you can be green while shopping.
- Use canvas bags: Keep an extra canvas bag in your backpack for shopping.
- Buy local: Buy your furnishings and supplies locally.
- Buy in bulk: Cut down on packaging by purchasing items in bulk.
Stay clean and green with these methods.
- Handwash: Conserve electricity and water by hand washing your clothes.
- Use green cleaning products: Choose biodegradable cleaning products with minimal toxins for your dorm room.
- Line-dry clothing: Cut down on costs and save energy by drying your clothes on a line.
- Only wash full loads: Save water and energy by only washing loads at capacity.
- Make your own cleaning products: Use ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon for non-toxic cleaning.
- Use cold water: Cut down on electricity and heat damage to your clothing by using cold water in your washing machine.
- Consolidate products: Buy a two in one shampoo plus conditioner to cut down on packaging.
Follow these methods to make your dorm more environmentally friendly.
- Take shorter showers: Save thousands of gallons and pounds of CO2 by reducing your shower time.
- Use plants instead of air fresheners: Instead of plug in air fresheners, you can use plants that improve indoor air quality.
- Decorate with recyclable materials: Use decor that you can recycle when you’ve outgrown it or move out later.
- Create a handmade lamp: Recycle jars with a lighting fixture to create your own lamp.
- Buy organic cotton sheets: Avoid toxicity by investing in organic cotton linens.
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs: Instead of using overhead dorm lights, use a lamp with a compact fluorescent light bulb.
- Give up air conditioning: Turn on a fan, open a window, or take a cold shower.
- Use a programmable thermostat: Program your thermostat to be comfortable when you’re in your dorm room or apartment, and higher or lower in temperature when you’re not.
- Turn off your lights: Use natural light whenever possible.
- Turn off the water: Be sure to turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth.
- Unplug electronics: Save energy by turning off and unplugging electronics.
Make your supplies green with these tips.
- Use refillable pens and pencils: Avoid waste by refilling writing utensils instead of throwing them away.
- Download energy saving applications: With certain applications, you can save energy on your computer.
- Use an e-reader: With an e-reader like Kindle, you can download books instead of buying paper items.
- Save your supplies: Keep your supplies and reuse them from semester to semester.
- Use binders instead of notebooks: Save waste by reusing notebooks and using single sheets of paper.
- Write to the edge of your paper: If you’re just taking notes, don’t bother staying within the margins.
- Get a solar backpack: Use a solar backpack to charge your laptop, gadgets, and more.
- Rent your textbooks: Save money and the environment by renting your textbooks.
- Share textbooks: Save paper and money, and study together with a classmate.
- Take inventory: Know what you have and avoid duplicates.
- Print carefully: Cut down on printing by choosing carefully what you’d like to print.
- Use low quality settings on your printing: Print in draft mode for items you don’t need to turn in, and you’ll save ink.
- Print on both sides: For notes, directions, and more, save paper by printing on both sides.
- Use recycled paper: Print and take notes on recycled paper.
- Take digital notes: Save yourself the trouble of writing on paper by typing your notes on a laptop.
Follow these tips to have environmentally friendly clothing.
- Shop at thrift stores: Save money and the environment by shopping for clothing at thrift stores.
- Go vintage: Get vintage accessories, clothing, and more.
- Take care of your stuff: Repair items instead of replacing them, and treat them kindly to extend their life.
- Swap clothes: Share and swap clothes among your friends.
- Avoid chasing trends: Avoid wastefulness by investing in classics.
- Purchase fair trade items: Improve the livelihoods of workers around the world by purchasing fair trade.
- Shop indie: Stay away from big box retailers and support local boutiques instead.
Transportation & Travel
Make your travel and transportation greener with these tips.
- Walk: Most college campuses are very friendly for walking.
- Carpool: Split the cost and the emissions of transportation by carpooling with friends.
- Use local resources: Find something fun to do around campus instead of going somewhere far flung.
- Ride the bus: Use public transportation to get to class instead of driving.
- Ride your bike: You can easily bike around campus.
- Take a road trip close to home: Go on a road trip with your friends to save gas together.
- Take an eco-trip: Go somewhere with sustainable housing, low-impact activities, and local support.
Eat green on campus and off with these tips.
- Go local: Buy seasonal, local food to cut down on miles and support your community.
- Eat plants: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to go greener.
- Eat what you take: If you have an all you can eat cafeteria, make sure you only take what you know you’re going to eat.
- Plan your meals: Save money on groceries by putting together a game plan ahead of time.
- Stay away from packaging: Eat unpackaged or minimally packaged foods.
- Go meat-free: You can cut your carbon footprint by eating less meat, or none at all.
- Create a window box garden: Grow some of your own food in a window box.
- Invest in organic: Keep yourself and the world healthy by purchasing organic food items.
- Use cloth napkins: Stop using disposable napkins by using cloth.
- Avoid disposable cups and plates: Use inexpensive plates instead of disposables.
- Go raw: Cut down on the energy of preparing food by eating fresh, raw foods.
- Save your leftovers: Don’t waste food-eat what’s left over again later.
- Invest in a water filter: Easily filter water to put in your reusable bottle.
- Use eco friendly appliances: Use a microwave, toaster, and rice cookers for green cooking.
- Drink low waste beverages: Go for water, canned items, and concentrated drinks.
- Bring a reusable mug: If you’re going to drink a lot of coffee, use your own mug instead of disposable cups.
- Limit paper napkins: Cut down on paper napkins with fast food.
- Take advantage of smart choices: If your school offers it, look for local, organic, and fair trade food choices.
Follow these methods, and you can make your electronics greener.
- Try to upgrade instead of replacing: Before replacing electronics, find out if a simple upgrade will do.
- Buy used: Extend the lifetime of a gadget by purchasing used.
- Buy items that will last: Avoid items that will ultimately end up in the trash.
- Go paperless: Switch to paperless mailings for your monthly statements.
- Keep your gadgets as long as possible: Weigh the options before replacing your gadgets.
- Get energy efficient electronics: Check ratings to find the most energy efficient gadgets before you purchase them.
Make a difference for yourself and others on campus by adopting these ideas.
- Lobby for water savings: Talk to administrators about low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.
- Encourage green food: Let your school know that you want organic, fair trade, vegan, and vegetarian options for food.
- Ask for a recycling program: If your school doesn’t already have recycling bins or a program, ask that they start one.
- Be a role model: Practice what you preach, and inspire others.
- Start a rally: Educate others on the environmental movement by holding a rally.
- Start a composting program: Get together with your school’s landscaping office and start a composting program for food waste.
- Join green student groups: Get together with like minded students on campus.
- Pick a green school: Find a school that supports your eco-friendly ways.
- Request lighting sensors: Ask that campus building lights be put on timers and sensors to save energy in empty rooms.
- Get your cafeteria to go trayless: Keep waste to a minimum by stopping the use of trays that can be overfilled.
- Start a campus garden: Create beautiful produce on campus with your classmates.
- Support local businesses: Cut down on transportation and help out your campus community by supporting local businesses.
- Put together a green campus guide: Write a guide that students can use to be more environmentally friendly.
- Host a paper drive: Put together a drive to collect recyclable paper at the end of every semester to save paper from the trash can.