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How to Be an Eco-friendly Student: 10 Ideas for Your Green Life

For most students, going to college is the first step toward a new adult life far away from home. One of the modern trends presumes that students should pay particular attention to environmental protection and live green. College years also help students to pay attention to sustainability and ecological awareness.

Here are some tips and advice how to become an eco-friendly student with a green dorm room.

Separate your Garbage

Make sure you dispose of your garbage properly. Use recycle bins instead of a standard trash can and do not throw away plastic containers and paper altogether.  Many colleges have recycling bins around the campus. If there are not any, consult with your classmates and persuade the administration to purchase them. Remember, that you can also make money from recyclables when you give your paper or cans for cash.  If you live off campus, ask for the nearest garbage drop-off. Buy the recycled items for the interior of your dorm room. Find out what may be recycled in your dorm. Do not forget to wash the containers for recycling and compost food scraps.

Save Paper

Most students use an enormous amount of paper for their classes and studies. First of all, buy minimum paper supplies and used books instead of new ones. You can also check out the online libraries or share books with other roommates. The same applies to printing – avoid it when possible. Take your notes on the double side of a sheet of paper, a laptop or a tablet.

Use Bike or Public Transport When Possible

It’s a well-known fact that cars pollute the air and cause the greenhouse effect. If you can use a bike or a bus to get to college, then do it! Moreover, you will save money on parking, gas, and insurance. Most dorms are situated right next to colleges, so in most cases, students do not really need cars. Walking or riding a bike is much better both for our health and environment. Another eco-friendly option is to use a carpool or buy an electric car to save some gasoline, and probably the planet.

Think of the Used Furniture and Interior Items

Make your dorm room green purchasing used furniture and décor items. Visit some thrift shops to find used decorations and necessary stuff. Do not throw away the stuff you don't need anymore, just give it away to other freshmen for free or cash or sell them on the online marketplaces. Consider how much garbage may be reduced. If you are a first-year student, ask for free or cheap stuff in your area. Many colleges have a special recycling day, so pop into it to see what you could take for your room. Just imagine that you can completely furnish it almost for free! The used stuff does not mean to look old or shabby.

No Water Waste

This rule is quite simple: use tap water when necessary. Wash dishes and cups with minimum water. Don’t leave it running when you brush your teeth. Take shorter showers and use cold water for the laundry. Don’t run a dishwasher half-full.

Save Energy

Most electronic devices consume energy even if they are in an idle mode. Use power bars to disconnect all of them altogether. It’s an effective measure to save energy in the dorm. In addition to that, opt for LED bulbs which consume less electricity, last longer and put out more light. Turn off the overhead lights when studying. Are there any air-fresheners or AC units in your dorm? Think of plants instead to improve air quality or just open a window or turn on a fan. If the weather is fine, studying outside is also a nice idea. If possible, install a low-energy fridge in your dorm. Search for devices marked with Energy Star which use less energy. Pay attention to environmental attributes when comparing them. Don’t use the indoor lights during the daytime. Rechargeable batteries are also indispensable.

Think of Reusable Water Bottles

Tap water is clean enough for drinking whereas bottled water creates plenty of garbage that gets into the landfill. Reusable bottles enable to reduce the amount of waste and save money. Note that paper coffee cups are not recyclable, so take a reusable mug with you when you drink coffee in the dorm.

Pay Attention to Utility Bills

Calculate how much water and electricity you consume. Are there any ways to reduce these figures? Try to track any progress you make. It concerns both separate dorm rooms and building you live in. Ask your administration to provide you with the utility bills to see what may be done.

Buy Organic Food and Recycled Products

When shopping, buy sustainable products. If you don’t have any shops nearby, think of buying online. It’s a good idea to support local farmers and buy raw foods instead of cooking meal. We got used to toasters, ovens, and microwaves in our kitchens. But remember, that these devices improve energy consumption. Think of some green recipes to use cooking appliances less frequently. Buy curtains, pillows, and towels made of organic cotton or flax which are grown without pesticides. Many companies produce nontoxic, dye free and fragrance-free cleaning products. Grocery stores and retailers also sell recycled napkins and cutlery. If you have a garden area, grow our own food without any chemicals.

Get Involved and Search for Green Dorms

Many colleges offer green dorms with composting toilets, recycle bins and eco-friendly devices. Did you know that a profession of a sustainability coordinator becomes more and more popular? Consult him or her about the nearby secondhand shops and environmental rules on campus. Some websites provide information on recycling and greener lifestyle. Discuss with your roommates the environmental matters and launch special green projects on campus. Think of a larger scale and spread green lifestyle among other students. Appoint a representative for each dorm to track progress on sustainability. Hold competitions between dorms to see which one uses less electricity and water. It’s even possible to involve other colleges and universities.

Green Figures and Statistics

Let’s have a look at some figures and goals of various colleges and universities:

  • Students from Dartmouth College consume approximately 60% less energy than their classmates from other colleges.
  • Colorado State University has been declared the greenest institution in the US. They have a solar-heated building and various programs in natural resources, environmental protection, and ecosystem science. In collaboration with NASA CSU developed a radar system for monitoring climate changes.
  • Stanford University has more than 20 green clubs.
  • The University of Connecticut runs EcoMadness competition to see which dorm uses the least water and energy.
  • St. Olaf College saves approximately 300,000 USD on utility costs.
  • More than 600 colleges signed the Climate Commitment to include ecological compatibility into a school curriculum.
  • One of the students at University of Vermont bought a solar panel for his dorm room.
  • NYU collected 25,000 pounds of reusable products.
  • The University of New Hampshire made a website which shows how to reduce energy consumption.

Any student can make a broader contribution to the environmental goals. Being green covers a wide range of challenges. Use your college time to become eco-friendly and reduce carbon footprint.

The University can help you become greener, but eventually, everything depends on a particular student and his or her attitude.

Another important thing is that healthy habits stay after college years helping us to impact the environment and allow the planet to stay alive.


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