8 Easy Ways to be Environmentally Friendly in College

When living at college, it can be difficult to live up to your true "tree hugger" status. There are however, changes you can make for your dorm life to be more sustainable. If you care about the environment, as you should, here are eight easy ways you can be more environmentally friendly in college. The trees and bees are counting on you!

1. Reusable water bottles instead of one-use plastic bottles

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Having your own personal water bottle is a cute way to show off your personality while reducing your use of plastic. You can choose a bottle in your favorite color, or even decorate it with stickers to add a personal touch! Not only are you helping the environment, but you’re also saving money (and every college student can benefit from that). Purchasing packs of plastic water bottles can add up overtime. Siena even has water fountains placed conveniently all over campus when you need a refill.

Bonus Tip: For those coffee and tea lovers, a ceramic mug is a perfect replacement for paper cups!

2. Don’t litter! And recycle when you can

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This seems like a self-explanatory rule, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t throw away their garbage in the appropriate place. Garbage and recycling bins are all over campus, but if you somehow find yourself somewhere without one in sight, just wait. Hold onto your trash until you find a bin. Most garbage bins have recycling right next to it. If you have trash that could be recycled, don’t throw it in the waste bin!

3. Carpool

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It’s inevitable that at some point in time you may need to leave campus. If it is for shopping, try and plan a day with your friends to go all at once. This will reduce the amount of car emissions released, rather than if you all went separately. Plus, singing in the car is much more fun with a group of friends than by yourself!

4. When shopping for groceries or supplies, use useable bags

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Think about how many plastic bags you use when you go on your grocery shopping spree at Walmart. A lot of that can be eliminated by using reusable shopping bags. To prevent you from forgetting to bring the bags to the store (like I do all the time), try and keep at least one in your car. If you don’t have a car on campus, put it in a spot where you won’t forget it on the way out the door.

5. Reuse old notebooks that are not finished

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Normally after a semester of classes, students are left with half-used notebooks. Instead of throwing them out, just simply rip out the pages already used (and recycle!) If you don’t have enough pages left to use for another class, the notebook could be used for creative hobbies like poetry or drawing. Sometimes old notebooks can look a little destroyed and dirty. To fix this, cut out pictures from magazines and glue a collage over the cover. Your old notebook will now look brand new!

6. Return plastic bottles you do use

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Bottle return stations are all over the place. You can look up and find the closest one to you. The benefit of returning bottles and cans is that you get money back from it! Set up a fund with your friends and save the money you get from bottle returns. You could use the cash to buy dinner, coffee or movie tickets!

7. Don’t leave your lights on in your room!

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Try to always turn off the lights in your room when you leave. Even if you are just headed to the bathroom or to get laundry, turn that light off! This helps to save energy as well as helping the lightbulb last longer. If you leave the room for a longer period of time, unplug everything from outlets. Believe it or not, even when devices are not in use, they are still taking energy from the outlet.

8. Get informed and involved

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There are many other ways you can help the environment than the tips listed above! The most important thing is to get informed about what is happening to the environment around you. Keep an eye out for any events that relate to living sustainably or ask your environmental major friends on campus any questions you might have. If you want to get even more involved, you can join the environmental club on campus as well!

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