Think Green, Act Green, is a slogan we sometimes hear on college campuses. The trend started over ten years ago with a major focus to ban single-use bottled water. The effort was a national campaign to educate the consumer on the environmental costs of bottled water and to restore faith back to tap water. The need is great because people living in United States are throwing away 60 million plastic water bottles a day and most end up in our landfills.
Each year, many more colleges and universities join the movement and according to the Daily Trojan,
"By 2023, the California State University's 23 campuses will be eliminating the use and sale of all single-use plastics including plastic straws, water bottles and bags." As a result, we are starting to see college students refilling and carrying their own water bottles.
The trend towards green thinking is clearly increasing. A survey conducted by the Princeton Review
in 2019 reported that, "a majority (64%) of respondents said having information about a college's commitment to environmental issues would contribute to their application decisions with 28% indicating it would contribute strongly.
Carrying your own water bottle only begins to scratch the surface of eco-friendly habits that can be practiced by college students. Going green has multiple benefits: It's better for your wallet, your planet and in some cases your health. Everybody wins when you develop green routines, so read on for simple ways to be more green.
1) Take Your Own Coffee Cup to the Coffee Shop
When you use your own cup, you are saving trees, water and energy and you might even get a discount.
2) Reduce and Reuse Party Items
Most plastic items that have a 1 or a 2 symbol on the bottom can be recycled. However, Solo cups are more complicated and made out of number 6 plastic making them very difficult to recycle. Many recycling facilities won't even take them.
Instead use reusable glasses at home parties. And if you plan to play Beer Pong, consider purchasing Rolling Sands 16 ounce reusable plastic stadium cups available on Amazon
. They are dishwasher safe!
3) Ride a Bike, Take Your Long Board or Walk When Possible
Think about using fun ways to get to class, You can also share a ride with a friend or take public transportation. You wouldn't have to spend money on parking and your decision not to use your car and try other options would be better for the environment. It's also a great way to get some exercise.
4) Don't Keep Electronics Plugged In
This would be difficult to do with some electronics. However, with electronics that are barely used or easy to unplug, it's very doable. For instance, according to Energy.gov
, "mobile phone chargers that are left plugged in after your phone is disconnected consume .26 watts of energy -- and 2.24 watts when your phone is fully charged and still connected.". This is true for TVs and other electronic equipment, like game consoles. Leaving them on standby means each will continue to use electricity.
5) Take Your Own Bags To the Grocery Store
Stop using disposable bags. Purchase some cloth bags and save money. In Washington state
, paper or plastic bags are banned and consumers pay .08 for each bag or plastic bag they use from the store.
6) Reduce the Amount of Laundry Detergent You Use and Wear Your Clothes More Than Once
We use way too much detergent in our washing machines. This causes soap residue to stay in the clothes and the clothes become scratchy and uncomfortable to wear. Wirecutter
indicates that "you only need 2 tablespoons per load at most—and that’s for big loads weighing 12 pounds or more." By reducing the amount of cleaning product you use, your detergent will last longer saving you money and more waste.
Since many detergents still come in huge containers with large lids used as measuring devices, you may want to pour the detergent in a pump bottle so it's easier to measure (2-4 pumps). To save energy, you might also consider washing your clothes in cold water. Approximately, 75 percent of the energy required to finish a load of clothes is used by heating the water.
7) Take Notes Electronically
You will save money and stop wasting paper if you begin to electronically take down your notes for class. There will be times when you won't be able to do this (some labs), but making a concerted effort in some classes will help.
8) Opt Out of Unsolicited Mail
How do you stop receiving junk mail from USPS? First, determine exactly what kind of unsolicited mail you want to get rid of. For example, if you want to stop receiving advertisements, you can sign up for DMAchoice
, which allows you to opt out of these mailings for $2. You can also stop receiving credit offers, by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.
9) Pay your bills on-line
It's difficult to implement new habits, but if students see their parents making a good effort to be environmentally focused they will too. Sharing green ideas and implementing them will not only bring you closer together, but will help planet earth as well.
Rebecca Hastings is the CEO/Founder of hugabox, college care packages with a purpose (90% of the proceeds go to childhood cancer research). She is a huge advocate for sarcoma cancer research funding and works with others across the country to make childhood cancer a national priority. When she is not working, she is off hiking, skiing and playing golf with her husband. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram @ hugabox.
"We use crinkle paper instead of plastic fillers, include gifts with very little packaging and we offer reusable gifts instead of disposable ones. We strive everyday to be more green. We are not there yet, but moving in the right direction."