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There are a few easy ways any college student can be more eco-friendly without having to go through major lifestyle changes. In fact, attempting to reduce your carbon footprint, also has a positive outcome on your budget & will get you to save some dollars along the way. Because classes, studying and socialising can also fit with green living. Ready?
As a college student, you have a lot on your plate. You want to save money, but convenience matters too. It can be hard to find ways to be eco-friendly when you’re pinching pennies and running from class to class, but it’s doable.
Whether you’ve been committed to having a positive effect on the environment for years or you’re just beginning to explore why sustainability matters, this is the perfect time to get involved with going green.
Here, we’ll take a look at eight ways that you can lower your carbon footprint, boost the health of the environment, and even save some money while still managing your day to day workload.
Tip #1 – Ditch single-use plastic
It’s convenient to buy a bottle of water now and then, but doing so adds up – fast. You don’t need a fancy name brand bottle. Anything you can fill and refill that’s BPA free will get the job done. Get in the habit of filling up your water bottle every time you stop in your dorm or apartment and keep your bottle with you in your backpack. If you do have to buy a plastic water bottle, be sure to toss it in the recycling bin instead of the trash when you’re done. While refilling it may sound like a good idea, doing so can cause chemicals and bacteria to leach into your water.
Tip #2 – Get thrifty
Thrift shopping for clothing doesn’t just save you money. It’s also great for the environment. Research shows that nearly 60% of clothing is thrown away within the year that it’s purchased. Pro tip: hit the thrift shops near your college near move out time. Fellow students traveling long distances are likely to purge down to bare necessities before hopping on a plane, leaving tons of great finds in local thrift shops. You’re likely to get some great finds when it comes to branded school apparel, clothes for a night out, and shoes.
Tip #3 – Load up on veggies – at least once a week
Participating in Meatless Mondays can be a great way to get a boost of nutrition, save money, and do your part to help the environment at the same time. While taking one day a week off from eating meat may not seem like much, over time, it can make a huge difference. Skipping meat for one day a week equals 52 days per year. Keep it up for a decade? That’s 520 days meat-free, meaning you’re lifting a huge burden off of the planet. If you’re not sure how to get started with going meatless, check out these recipes for some delicious inspiration.
Tip #4 – Switch up your toothbrush
This one is simple. Research estimates that it takes the average plastic toothbrush 400 years to decompose. More and more, environmentalists are seeing toothbrushes showing up on beaches. While this is terrible for pollution in general, it’s also dangerous for animals. Plastics in toothbrushes can leach chemicals into water and soil. The solution? Use a bamboo toothbrush instead.
Tip #5 – Upgrade your school supplies
When you’re choosing your school supplies, you’re voting with your dollar on what matters to you. Show companies that you care about sustainability, and you want to spend your money on products that are long-lasting and/ or products that are made from recycled materials. Choose an eco-friendly exercise book instead of a standard non-recycled notebook, buy a cork laptop sleeve instead of a typical sleeve made from unnatural materials, or purchase a unique glass or stainless steel pen instead of going with plastic. Of course, taking notes on a computer and cutting down on paper wherever possible is ideal.
Tip #6 – Use what you’ve got
We know, we know – shopping is fun, and there’s something motivating about buying new school supplies at the start of each semester. Instead of shelling out for the paper, pens, notebooks, and tech upgrades every six months get into the habit of using what you’ve got before purchasing something new. This is great for the planet and can help you keep some of your hard-earned money in your wallet, where it belongs.
Tip #7 – Get involved on campus
It can be tough to make significant changes in your life that positively affect the environment when the people around you don’t have the same goals. When you join a club or group on campus that’s working toward helping the environment, you’ll make connections and form relationships that can keep you on track with fighting the good fight.
Tip #8 – Unplug your electronics
When you come home to your dorm room or your apartment, plugging in your phone and laptop feels as natural as taking off your shoes. Try to get out of this habit unless it’s necessary. There’s no need to charge your electronics constantly, especially with the long battery life of many devices today. Even more importantly – don’t leave your chargers plugged into the wall when you’re not using them. Appliances and chargers use energy even when they’re not “on.”
Don’t underestimate your impact as a college student. What you do now can shape not only your future behaviors but the ones of your future colleagues as well. By establishing eco-friendly habits at this point in your life, you’re able to drive future change in a way that will positively impact the environment for generations to come.