Being a busy college student doesn’t mean you can’t help save the planet
You hear about it all the time on the news, you read about it on countless blogs and your professors always find a way to bring it up in lecture; global warming is something that has been a hot topic for the past few years and it’s never too late to do something about it.
Helping the planet is as easy as doing a few simple tasks everyday. From recycling that old RHET 105 essay to telling the cashier at Target that you don’t need a bag, helping to decrease global warming and decrease the amount of stress we put on our planet is easy even for busy college students.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle:It seems like recycling, especially for those that are still living in the dorms, is time consuming and inconvenient. Actually, it’s not that difficult to do and over time, it just becomes routine. My roommate and I have two garbage bins in our room. We use one for trash and the other one for our recycling. As the more environmentally aware one, I’m always reminding her to dump her plastic bottles or aluminum cans into the recycle bin as opposed to the garbage bin. At the end of the week, we take our recycling to the recycling room on our floor and sort out our recyclables. It literally takes about five minutes of our time. Recycling isn’t something that should be tedious. With all the recycling bins around campus, it doesn’t take much to hold onto that empty soda can for a few more minutes until you find a recycling bin.
- Always turn the lights off: In the dorms, one term became engraved in my mind “Not in use? Turn off the juice.” This phrase is plastered on every light switch in every dorm of my residence hall. Every time I leave the room, I always remember to switch off the lights and make sure that all other electronics are turned off; flat iron, television and so on. Turning off the lights is something so simple yet saves a lot of energy. Every time you are about to leave the room, just flip off the switch or remind your roommate to do it when she leaves the room.
- Skip the plastic water bottles: It’s easy to go to the store or your residence hall’s late night cafe, grab a water bottle and charge it to your credits. However, think about the amount of water bottles that will go into landfills, especially if you don’t throw it into a recycling bin. Instead, invest money in a reusable aluminum water bottle that will last you a lot longer than a disposable one. You’ll save money by not having to purchase a water bottle all the time and with all the different designs out there, you can find out that suits your taste.
- Take the bus, walk or ride your bike: Instead of hopping into your car and wasting time trying to find parking and trying to find your keys, take advantage of the University’s bus system which is free for students, ride your bike or if the weather allows it, take a walk. It will decrease the amount of money spent on gas and decrease the amount of pollutants that get released into the air.
- Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth: Some people make it a habit to leave the faucet running when they’re brushing their teeth in the morning or at night. Instead, save water by turning it off as you’re brushing and only turn it back on when you’re done and need to rinse out your mouth and toothbrush.
- Dry your hands with the dryer: Instead of grabbing a handful of paper towels (most of which will not even be used to dry your hands) take the extra 60 seconds to dry your hands with the dryer. It’s more hygienic than using paper towels and eliminates the amount of paper waste that will eventually wind up in land fills.
- Ask yourself: is it really necessary to print that out? Many times our professors ask us to bring handouts that they post online to class. But before you go and print out that 20-page document ask yourself if it is really necessary to print it out. Will it still be useful if you just bring your laptop to class and view the document from your laptop? Most of the time the answer will be yes, unless it is a worksheet that needs to be filled. Doing this will save the amount of paper that’s used and also save you money on ink and paper if you’re using a personal print or it will keep off that extra change from being charged to your student account.
- Skip the plastic or paper bag for lunch: Cashiers at many places automatically put your food into large paper bags even if you only purchased something small like a cookie or an order of fries. Next time you’re grabbing lunch, instead of letting the guy at Jimmy John’s or Chipotle or wherever your go-to place for food is put your sandwich in a bag, kindly decline it, especially if you’re carrying a tote or if you know you’re going to eat your meal on your way to your next class. Most meals, especially sandwiches, come with paper wrapping that keeps the food from leaking into your purse if you throw it in there or some sort of wrapper that keeps the mess off your hands, so most of the time that extra paper bag is unnecessary. The same goes for the cashiers at any store, such as Walgreens or Target, especially when you make small purchases that don’t really require the use of a large plastic bag. If you’re carrying a tote, it’s easy to toss your newly purchased items into it instead of wasting a plastic bag which will most likely end up in your garbage can after you take your items out of it.
- Take shorter showers: Many girls are guilty of this: the 30 minute shower. It does not matter if your hair reaches your butt or if you sport a pixie cut, the average shower should last no more than 5-10 minutes; give or take those few extra minutes it takes us to shave our legs. A lot of water gets wasted every minute that you’re in the shower, so next time you need to get squeaky clean, try decreasing your shower time by a couple of minutes; a couple of minutes saves many gallons of water.
- Eat a vegetarian meal once a week: Eating just one vegetarian meal a week cuts down on the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen that get emitted into the atmosphere. Not only does going vegetarian, even if it’s only for one meal a week help decrease harmful gases from being released into the air, it also helps you feel healthier and decreased the demand for meat based products which, in the long run, will decrease the number of animals that need to be slaughtered.