by Priya Sudendra
Going green in college can seem difficult; you might think it’s time consuming and expensive, but becoming environmentally friendly while in school can be pretty easy and cheap!
The simplest thing you can do is to turn off everything in your room or apartment. Turn off the lights when you go to another room or leave. Remember to turn off fans and unplug toasters and other appliances that aren’t in use. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, unplug your chargers and power strips so that extra energy doesn’t add up while you’re away.
Thrifting is another great way to be environmentally conservative. It is more than just a fad, it’s a great way to reduce waste and find some great things! Many thrift stores have furniture, clothes, and many other things you might need for your apartment or dorm room. You can even sell your own things at some second hand stores! Not only will you be saving tons of money by purchasing gently used items, but you will be preventing production wastes and reducing the amount of waste in landfills. You can find some great things at thrift and second hand stores.
Use less water! Just by turning off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth or shortening your shower, you can significantly cut down on your water usage. Think of all the time you’ll save by shortening your shower by just a few minutes! Cutting down on shower usage also reduces the amount of CO2 released into the air because you are using less electricity for heating the water. The same goes for using cold water to wash your clothes in the washing machine instead of using hot water. Your clothes will be just as clean and in better condition; the heat can damage your clothing.
Reuse and recycle. Reuse anything you can. You can use the back of old papers for scratch paper or notes. Use actual silverware instead of plastic-ware and use real plates instead of paper ones. Reuse the plastic bags from stores for trash or for future shopping trips. Better yet, you can get a reusable tote at any grocery store to carry your groceries, lunches, or anything else you need to tote around.
Instead of throwing your old phone away and sending it to a landfill, you can check if that brand has any sell back or recycle programs. The company can dispose and reuse different parts of your phone. You can go to Call2Recycle to find a phone-recycling center near you. Reusing drastically cuts down on the waste produced. If you try to use everything as much as possible, it can really help.
Going green doesn’t have to be a burden; it can be done quickly and easily. If you put in a little effort, it can go a long way! Get your friends and family to do the same and you will be helping save hundreds of gallons of water, reduce CO2 emissions, and generate less waste.
About the author: Priya Sudendra is a junior at the University of Colorado and a staff writer for CollegeFocus, a website dedicated to helping students deal with the challenges of college, including housing, finance, style, health, relationships, and transferring from a community college to a four-year university.