For many students, going to college or university also means moving away from home and starting a new life in a new city. Take the opportunity to also start a new eco-friendly chapter and with these tips to be green:
- You’ll notice that many campuses, including Brown University, Harvard University and Ryerson University in Toronto, are going bottled-water free. Tap in! Use a reusable mug and water bottle. This saves resources and sends a message to the world that you are a conscientious student who recognizes that tap water is healthier, cheaper and tastes great. Check for bottles that are BPA and PCB free. Did you know that tap water is often subjected to more stringent water testing standards than bottled water?
- At Starbucks and other coffee shops, you can often get a small discount if you bring your own reusable coffee mug. If you happen to forget your disposable mug, be sure to find a place that you can recycle your cup. Many schools have special recycling programs for Styrofoam coffee cups.
- Choose soap products (such as shampoos, conditioners, dish soaps, and laundry detergents) that are phosphate-free. Phosphates are not only bad for your skin, but also hard on our environment. Too much phosphate in our lakes and rivers contributes to algae blooms that are choking up our beaches.
- Go unplugged! Unplug your computer charger, phone charger and other electronic devices when not in use. When you leave them plugged in they still use energy—even if they aren’t doing anything. Set your computers to “sleep mode” instead of using a screensaver. This saves battery power and the environment!
- See if your city has any green initiatives. For instance, Toronto has a ‘Live Green’ card which offers deals at local restaurants and shops that have local, sustainable and/or organic products.
- Did you know that most fruits and vegetables travel between 1,500 and 2,500 miles before they reach your plate? Buying locally is a great sustainable decision you can make, so check out neighborhood markets for cheeses, meats, fruits, vegetables and baked goods.
- Why stop there? If you’re of age, do your part by drinking great local beer and wines. Craft breweries and small wineries are popping up all over the place. You’ll be reducing your ecological footprint while discovering all your region has to offer.
- Volunteer! Make a community impact. Your new neighborhood is likely home to many great philanthropic efforts. Find the one that’s right for you and make your community more livable.
Greengage Mobile is a smartphone app that makes it easy to educate, create awareness and foster employee participation in sustainability initiatives while simultaneously providing management with detailed analytics. Lindsey Goodchild is the CEO and founder of Greengage. As one of the first graduates from Ryerson’s post-graduate program in Sustainability with a specialization in Corporate Responsibility, Lindsey brings a current and innovative perspective to the changing demands of corporate citizens.
Greengage Mobile is one of 46 teams currently incubating at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ). For more digitally-themed back to school expert tips, visit the DMZ’s Back to School page.