The college experience is a crucial part of becoming a more independent and well-rounded person. Developing more sustainable habits and behaviors at this stage of life can lead to a greater impact in the future. For those interested in taking their eco-friendly behaviors to the next level, we have compiled a list of five ways to be more sustainable while living on a college campus.
1. Reuse the Bag
Single-use items make up 10% of trash in the United States, so one easy step to increase sustainable behavior is to reuse common daily items. Reusing common items such as bags and water bottles replaces all the plastic you would have used, thus reducing your carbon footprint and reducing the burden of plastic in the environment.
2. Recycle that Paper
Did you know that according to Dump and Run, Inc., the average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper? This shockingly large amount of waste can be reduced immensely through simply utilizing University offered recycling. Many campuses have recycling bins conveniently positioned near trash cans so next time you are throwing out waste take a moment to ask yourself if the item could instead be recycled and feel good knowing you are making a difference.
3. Finish Your Plate
Food waste is a small thing that adds up to a big cost. When you buy things you’re not going to eat, the plastics used to store the food, the gas used to transport the food, and the water used to grow the food all go to waste. One small change you can make is to make a deliberate effort to avoid wasting food, and use up everything you buy.
4. Unplug the Toaster
Electric production represents 37% of all carbon dioxide emissions in just the United States, symbolizing electricity is a huge contributor to climate change. College students can help reduce their carbon footprint by unplugging computers, televisions, and other appliances when not using them. Turning off lights when leaving rooms, which might seem like a small menial task, can make an impact.
5. Buy a Used Sweater
A shocking 60% of all clothes made are thrown out in the same year. The clothing industry is second to only oil in contributing to global pollution. One way climate change can be fought is through the purchase of eco-friendly clothes, such as items from thrift stores. Not only is this positively impacting the environment, but it also creates opportunities to purchase affordable, trendy clothing. College students can also donate their clothes to thrift stores for others to enjoy, rather than throwing them away.
These are just five of the many ways college students can live a more sustainable lifestyle. We recommend trying to implement these simple tips into your own life, so you can sleep peacefully knowing you are doing your part to create a more environmentally friendly world.