Tips to be Green in College

The great philosopher of our time, Kermit the Frog, once said, “It isn’t easy being green.” In some ways our dear Muppet friend is right. It’s much easier to leave on the lights, throw away plastics, and use fossil fuels, but our Earth has limited resources and we’re in the middle of an environmental crisis. It is our role to be good stewards of our environment, even if our efforts are small.

College is a hard place to be green with cafeteria style meals that lead to food waste as well as the constant charging of electronic devices. However, there are a few ways to be more sustainable while at school.

1. Stop using plastic water bottles. According to the Water Project, an estimated 80% of plastic water bottles do not get recycled. So far, I’ve acquired three free reusable water bottles here on campus over the year, so consider those over the plastic disposable ones.

2. Invest in a drying rack. Instead of using the dryers in the laundry room, consider air drying your clothes.

3. Buy fewer clothes. Thrift shops and consignment stores are better ways to get new clothes without continually buying new products.

4. Rent or borrow items. DVDS aren’t as popular now, but if you do use them, consider renting them instead of purchasing hard copies. This is the same for other items you may only use temporarily like formal dresses, textbooks, athletic gear, etc.

5. Decrease meat consumption. Large amounts of greenhouse gases are produced while raising livestock. The United Nations reports that “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed." As well as contributing to the production of greenhouses gases, livestock now use 30% of the earth’s entire land surface. Meat production also uses large amounts of our water resources. Consider cutting meat out of your diet.

6. Shorten your shower. It is recommended to take a five-minute shower. You can reduce your water usage and CO2 emissions by 70-80%. If you have the means to, installing a low-flow shower head can greatly reduce your water consumption.

7. Paper, not plastic. If you forget your reusable cloth grocery bags, always ask for paper bags which are biodegradable unlike the plastic equivalent.

8. Use your curtains properly. You can use your curtains to maximize heating and cooling by having them open during the day and closed at night. Curtains can keep heat in during the winter so make sure to close them at night.

9. Unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. Unplug microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, etc. to save energy

10. Be an informed consumer. Look at the labels of what you’re buying. Are they nontoxic, biodegradable, dye and chlorine free? Try buying eco-friendly bath and beauty products.

Try out these tips to be a little bit greener while on campus. Maybe one day we’ll get our own wind turbine.