Staying green is often the last thing on a college student’s to-do list. Homework, internships, workouts, parties, and dinner usually always make the list. But staying green? Not so much. There are so many ways we can stay green as college students. These hacks are so simple that it is easy to forget them. They can be SO simple. Here’s a list of some things you can do in order to have less of a negative impact on the environment and create a more positive one. (Disclaimer: I'm sure you have heard all of these before, but sometimes, us students need reminders for the obvious!)
1. Utilize a Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Mug
Whether you are drinking coffee, tea, soda, juice, or water, there are plenty of reusable options to help you do this. You can find bottles and mugs at almost any store. Once you have one -- stay dedicated! Bring it with you everywhere. You will eventually lose the urge to purchase plastic water bottles from vending machines or convenience stores. Seton Hall University, has now made a deal with the Dunkin Donuts on campus. Students who order coffee and bring in their own reusable cup or mug get an additional discount! Plastic and styrofoam are not biodegradable so they go to a landfill, and sit there for a very, very, long time. Consider switching to a reusable water bottle or mug. Sure, it will require a little more responsibility but it is more than worth it!
2. Bring Reusable Bags With You
These bags have so many uses. I like to use them to carry my lunch to work, for gym clothes, and especially when going grocery shopping! But even for other shopping too. If you hang them near your front door or leave them in the car, you won’t forget them, just fold them up and carry them into the store! Now you won’t be contributing to the use of plastic bags which end up hurting our planet and the many animals that live here. You can read up about the negative effects that plastic bags have on our environment on onegreenplanet.org.
3. Time Your Shower
Videos have been floating around Facebook lately about the drought in Cape Town, South Africa. The city will officially run out of water by April of this year. Keeping this in mind, it is SO easy to conserve water at home, but many students are unaware of this! Timing your shower, or limiting the time you spend in the shower can significantly decrease the amount of water we use each day. Harvard University has found that an average shower uses roughly 20 gallons of water! Listen to a few songs or set a timer, Harvard says showers should be about 5 minutes long!
4. Walk, Run, Bike
Of course, when you can! If you have a short walk to campus or a part-time job, then try to swap out driving the car once or twice a week for walking or biking. Every time a car runs, it emits various toxins and carbons into the atmosphere. This one day, will catch up to us. Additionally, walking or biking will help get your heart rate up and get your blood flowing. A win-win.
5. Pick Up Trash Everywhere
I find this important because this is such an easy thing to do, it does not require any prior planning. Every time I go on a hike or I visit the beach or a park, I try to pick up a few pieces of trash and place them in a trash can. That way, the trash is not left to float around and harm animals and people! While you are walking around campus or sitting in the park, pick up the pieces of trash you walk by.