It’s time for school to begin once again, and for some students, this means moving away from parents and into a new college dorm room. Being green at school is just as important as keeping the environment in mind at home, and below are six ways to keep up good practices even when the stresses of class and exams arise.
As always, recycle
Moving away from home doesn’t mean changing normal recycling routines. Even at college, it’s possible to recycle all the things you usually do: newspapers, plastic bottles, glass jars, etc. It’s even more important that you recycle papers – anywhere from last semester’s assignments to last week’s graded papers. Check with your university to see if there are any recycling programs or drives happening on campus.
Purchase green school supplies
A number of stores that sell back-to-school products also sell items made from recycled materials. From notebooks and journals to folders and pens, try to purchase supplies that have a green label on them. It may seem like a small way to help the environment, but every effort counts.
Walk and bike whenever possible
Try your best to limit the use of your car. Walking not only helps you to reduce your carbon footprint but also can help you get in shape. If you need to go somewhere that’s not within walking distance, attempt to ride your bike. In last resort situations, carpool with a classmate when possible.
Use energy-efficient lighting
While you can’t control what types of lighting are used in the classroom and lecture halls, you can make sure you don’t waste energy in your dorm room. On a sunny day, let nature light your room. After dark and on bad-weather days, use lamps equipped with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs). They are typically more expensive than regular bulbs, but they are 75 percent more efficient and will last much longer.
Avoid paper plates and utensils
Snacking in a dorm room is a pretty typical college activity, but try not to use many paper plates or utensils in your room. This can add up to a lot of extra garbage each week. Instead, take a little extra time by using reusable products, even though you may not have a kitchenette in your room that would make washing them easier.
Get your classmates motivated!
Helping the environment can be a challenge when you’re doing it on your own. Check your campus to see if there are any green clubs or meetings taking place. If not, don’t be afraid to get some friends together to start making a difference on your campus this fall.
Jennifer Griffin, Contributing Writer and Public Relations, GreeningDetroit.com
Jennifer is pursuing a degree in Journalism and English from Wayne State University, and she is also a Contributing Writer for The South End.