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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

As a college student, it can be a challenge to be environmentally conscious especially if you’re living in student housing. However, more than ever, it is so crucial to be aware and realize that our actions can have lasting consequences on our planet.

Sustainability is becoming a way of life for many, and it can be easily incorporated into the lives of college students. While it might seem like a difficult task, there are plenty of ways, both big and small, to become a greener, more environmentally conscious person. Here are a few easy ways that you can help our planet!

there is no planet b
Photo by Li-An Lim from Unsplash

Invest in a reusable water bottle

This is a simple thing that every college student can do in their day. Ditch plastic water bottles that you have to throw away after one use, and trade them in for a reusable one. The options and styles are seemingly endless, so there is definitely a water bottle out there for you.

Some of my personal favorite brands include Nalgene, S’well, Contigo, and Yeti. However, there are tons of other types to choose form and incorporate into your life.

Unplug electronics when not in use

This is something that I sometimes forget to think about but can make a difference. College students are constantly using their electronics, but when they are in use, make sure to unplug. Using less energy might not seem like it makes a major difference, but even the smallest conservation can make a difference.

glass bottles in Reusable bag
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Recycle correctly!

This should be an obvious but recycle whenever you can. Too many times, I see people throw away their waste in the trash when it can easily be recycled. Don’t be that person. Instead, take the time and think about whether you can or can’t recycle the can you’re about to put in the trash.

Also, it is important when recycling to separate it into different categories. Good things to recycle include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and cans that are aluminum or tin. On the flip side, don’t recycle objects likes plastic sandwich bags, plastic wrap, plastic grocery bags, foam or anything that has been contaminated by food.

Bring a reusable bag while shopping

This is one of my personal favorite ways to be environmentally aware. Instead of using plastic bags at the grocery store or mall, instead opt to BYOB: bring your own bag. Investing in a cute tote or reusable bag makes the difference. Using your own bag is one less plastic bag in the landfill or ocean.

Walk whenever you can

At UIUC, we are fortunate to have a very walkable and safe campus. Instead of calling an Uber, get some exercise in and walk to wherever you need to be. If it is a distance that does require another type of transportation, it is also good to take a bus, ride your bike, or carpool with others.

Try to eat less meat or none

The consumption of meat and animals is something that is not environmentally the best. That being said, it can be difficult to cut meat out of your diet, especially with limited options. However, if you have the chance, try to avoid meat whenever you can and want to. Many people incorporate Meatless Monday to help the environment.

Liz Gremer

Illinois '24

Freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Speech and Hearing Sciences.
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