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101 Ways to Go Green in College

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.

Recycling

Try these ways to take advantage of recycling on campus.

  1. Look for recycling bins: Use recycling bins around campus and create one for your room.
  2. Recycle your electronics: Don’t throw away your old cell phone or laptop-find a recycling center.
  3. Know recycling rules: Make sure you don’t send in anything that can’t be processed.
  4. Recycle paper: Even in this digital age, students generate lots of paper-be sure it finds its final place in a recycling bin.

Reusing

These tips will help you reuse what you already have access to.

  1. Don’t throw away good stuff: Use sites like Craigslist and Freecycle to get rid of your old items.
  2. Reuse paper: Use back sides of paper for scraps and more.
  3. Donate supplies to artists: Give paper towel tubes, rubber bands, even oven doors to artists who can use them.
  4. Repurpose items: Use empty cans for pencil holders, turn old shoe boxes into storage, and more.
  5. Get used textbooks: Get used textbooks from stores, classmates, or websites.

Reducing

With these tips, you can reduce the waste you generate.

  1. Be thrifty: Shop at a thrift store to reuse old items and avoid waste from production.
  2. Buy green: Buy recycled products whenever possible.
  3. Be picky: Don’t buy lots of unnecessary items-you’ll save money and the environment.
  4. Carry a refillable water bottle: Instead of buying plastic water bottles each day, bring your own to refill.

Shopping

These are some of the ways you can be green while shopping.

  1. Use canvas bags: Keep an extra canvas bag in your backpack for shopping.
  2. Buy local: Buy your furnishings and supplies locally.
  3. Buy in bulk: Cut down on packaging by purchasing items in bulk.

Cleaning

Stay clean and green with these methods.

  1. Handwash: Conserve electricity and water by hand washing your clothes.
  2. Use green cleaning products: Choose biodegradable cleaning products with minimal toxins for your dorm room.
  3. Line-dry clothing: Cut down on costs and save energy by drying your clothes on a line.
  4. Only wash full loads: Save water and energy by only washing loads at capacity.
  5. Make your own cleaning products: Use ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon for non-toxic cleaning.
  6. Use cold water: Cut down on electricity and heat damage to your clothing by using cold water in your washing machine.
  7. Consolidate products: Buy a two in one shampoo plus conditioner to cut down on packaging.

Dorm Life

Follow these methods to make your dorm more environmentally friendly.

  1. Take shorter showers: Save thousands of gallons and pounds of CO2 by reducing your shower time.
  2. Use plants instead of air fresheners: Instead of plug in air fresheners, you can use plants that improve indoor air quality.
  3. Decorate with recyclable materials: Use decor that you can recycle when you’ve outgrown it or move out later.
  4. Create a handmade lamp: Recycle jars with a lighting fixture to create your own lamp.
  5. Buy organic cotton sheets: Avoid toxicity by investing in organic cotton linens.
  6. Use compact fluorescent bulbs: Instead of using overhead dorm lights, use a lamp with a compact fluorescent light bulb.
  7. Give up air conditioning: Turn on a fan, open a window, or take a cold shower.
  8. 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.
  9. Turn off your lights: Use natural light whenever possible.
  10. Turn off the water: Be sure to turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth.
  11. Unplug electronics: Save energy by turning off and unplugging electronics.

Supplies

Make your supplies green with these tips.

  1. Use refillable pens and pencils: Avoid waste by refilling writing utensils instead of throwing them away.
  2. Download energy saving applications: With certain applications, you can save energy on your computer.
  3. Use an e-reader: With an e-reader like Kindle, you can download books instead of buying paper items.
  4. Save your supplies: Keep your supplies and reuse them from semester to semester.
  5. Use binders instead of notebooks: Save waste by reusing notebooks and using single sheets of paper.
  6. Write to the edge of your paper: If you’re just taking notes, don’t bother staying within the margins.
  7. Get a solar backpack: Use a solar backpack to charge your laptop, gadgets, and more.
  8. Rent your textbooks: Save money and the environment by renting your textbooks.
  9. Share textbooks: Save paper and money, and study together with a classmate.
  10. Take inventory: Know what you have and avoid duplicates.
  11. Print carefully: Cut down on printing by choosing carefully what you’d like to print.
  12. 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.
  13. Print on both sides: For notes, directions, and more, save paper by printing on both sides.
  14. Use recycled paper: Print and take notes on recycled paper.
  15. Take digital notes: Save yourself the trouble of writing on paper by typing your notes on a laptop.

Clothes

Follow these tips to have environmentally friendly clothing.

  1. Shop at thrift stores: Save money and the environment by shopping for clothing at thrift stores.
  2. Go vintage: Get vintage accessories, clothing, and more.
  3. Take care of your stuff: Repair items instead of replacing them, and treat them kindly to extend their life.
  4. Swap clothes: Share and swap clothes among your friends.
  5. Avoid chasing trends: Avoid wastefulness by investing in classics.
  6. Purchase fair trade items: Improve the livelihoods of workers around the world by purchasing fair trade.
  7. Shop indie: Stay away from big box retailers and support local boutiques instead.

Transportation & Travel

Make your travel and transportation greener with these tips.

  1. Walk: Most college campuses are very friendly for walking.
  2. Carpool: Split the cost and the emissions of transportation by carpooling with friends.
  3. Use local resources: Find something fun to do around campus instead of going somewhere far flung.
  4. Ride the bus: Use public transportation to get to class instead of driving.
  5. Ride your bike: You can easily bike around campus.
  6. Take a road trip close to home: Go on a road trip with your friends to save gas together.
  7. Take an eco-trip: Go somewhere with sustainable housing, low-impact activities, and local support.

Food

Eat green on campus and off with these tips.

  1. Go local: Buy seasonal, local food to cut down on miles and support your community.
  2. Eat plants: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to go greener.
  3. 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.
  4. Plan your meals: Save money on groceries by putting together a game plan ahead of time.
  5. Stay away from packaging: Eat unpackaged or minimally packaged foods.
  6. Go meat-free: You can cut your carbon footprint by eating less meat, or none at all.
  7. Create a window box garden: Grow some of your own food in a window box.
  8. Invest in organic: Keep yourself and the world healthy by purchasing organic food items.
  9. Use cloth napkins: Stop using disposable napkins by using cloth.
  10. Avoid disposable cups and plates: Use inexpensive plates instead of disposables.
  11. Go raw: Cut down on the energy of preparing food by eating fresh, raw foods.
  12. Save your leftovers: Don’t waste food-eat what’s left over again later.
  13. Invest in a water filter: Easily filter water to put in your reusable bottle.
  14. Use eco friendly appliances: Use a microwave, toaster, and rice cookers for green cooking.
  15. Drink low waste beverages: Go for water, canned items, and concentrated drinks.
  16. Bring a reusable mug: If you’re going to drink a lot of coffee, use your own mug instead of disposable cups.
  17. Limit paper napkins: Cut down on paper napkins with fast food.
  18. Take advantage of smart choices: If your school offers it, look for local, organic, and fair trade food choices.

Electronics

Follow these methods, and you can make your electronics greener.

  1. Try to upgrade instead of replacing: Before replacing electronics, find out if a simple upgrade will do.
  2. Buy used: Extend the lifetime of a gadget by purchasing used.
  3. Buy items that will last: Avoid items that will ultimately end up in the trash.
  4. Go paperless: Switch to paperless mailings for your monthly statements.
  5. Keep your gadgets as long as possible: Weigh the options before replacing your gadgets.
  6. Get energy efficient electronics: Check ratings to find the most energy efficient gadgets before you purchase them.

Getting Involved

Make a difference for yourself and others on campus by adopting these ideas.

  1. Lobby for water savings: Talk to administrators about low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.
  2. Encourage green food: Let your school know that you want organic, fair trade, vegan, and vegetarian options for food.
  3. Ask for a recycling program: If your school doesn’t already have recycling bins or a program, ask that they start one.
  4. Be a role model: Practice what you preach, and inspire others.
  5. Start a rally: Educate others on the environmental movement by holding a rally.
  6. Start a composting program: Get together with your school’s landscaping office and start a composting program for food waste.
  7. Join green student groups: Get together with like minded students on campus.
  8. Pick a green school: Find a school that supports your eco-friendly ways.
  9. Request lighting sensors: Ask that campus building lights be put on timers and sensors to save energy in empty rooms.
  10. Get your cafeteria to go trayless: Keep waste to a minimum by stopping the use of trays that can be overfilled.
  11. Start a campus garden: Create beautiful produce on campus with your classmates.
  12. Support local businesses: Cut down on transportation and help out your campus community by supporting local businesses.
  13. Put together a green campus guide: Write a guide that students can use to be more environmentally friendly.
  14. 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.


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