So much more than a mere Instagram trend, being eco-friendly is definitely something every single human should work on – students included. It’s a set of values that defines your way of life, and when the time comes for you to leave home, you need to take a close look at your own values and decide how you’re going to stay true to them while you’re starting a new chapter of your life through education. Since college life comes with its own slew of challenges, you might find it a bit more difficult to lead a sustainable life in your dorm.
However, these five simple tips are more than applicable for your student life, and you can rest assured that these can help you stay true to your eco-friendly values to save the planet one careful, Earth-friendly choice at a time.
Think digital thoughts
Some of the fondest memories and greatest epiphanies happen in those college notepads. However, the harmful effect of excessive paper usage means deforestation, destroying Mother Nature, and endangering animals and plants for the sake of a cute notebook. So, if you want to make your studies as paperless as possible, choose digital versions of books to learn from whenever you can. Alternatively, choose to take books from your college library and return them for others to use, instead of buying new ones.
Also, use a digital tool such as a tablet to take notes instead of a traditional notebook. This is not just an eco-friendlier alternative, but also a simpler way to keep track of your studies, stay organized, never worry about the quality of your handwriting, and you won’t run out of storage. If you have a late-night study session, you also won’t have to keep your dorm roommates up with lamplight, since your tablet has its own built-in light for you to study with ease.
Reduce waste every way possible
We’ve grown accustomed to the way we live, so we rarely pay attention to the little things that actually make a huge difference when it comes to our planet. For example, if you leave your tap on while you’re brushing your teeth, if you buy bottled water every day, if you leave your chargers in the socket even after you’ve charged your phone, and you keep your coffee maker on standby when you’re not using it – these are all wasteful behaviors that tend to add up to quite an energy-waste tally.
One simple way you can reduce waste is to ditch the plastic and instead use insulated drink bottles that are made of eco-friendly, non-toxic materials and are perfect for all kinds of weather – they’ll keep your coffee warm and your water cool. You can also choose bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, get a solar charger for your devices, and of course, unplug whenever you can so that your chargers and devices aren’t wasting electricity on standby.
Find ways to recycle
Another way to effectively reduce waste and help our planet is to recycle and reuse whenever possible. Luckily, many college campuses have recycling stations scattered all over, so you should note down those locations before you even move into your dorm. Even when you use your tablet and your computer to do research and reduce your paper usage, you will need to print out your research papers and essays when they’re up for grading. In those situations, you’ll find that the paper you use could be recycled with the right facility at your disposal.
Also, by separating your garbage into different categories, you’ll be able to recycle various kinds of material from those soda cans, all the way to organic food scraps that can be turned into compost. Perhaps you don’t have all of the necessary facilities on campus, but your administration can point you in the right direction to find the nearest one for you.
Reduce your carbon footprint
If you live in a dorm, chances are that your lectures are a few minutes away and that you can walk anywhere you need, even if it’s to a supermarket, since most colleges are quite close to stores to keep their students taken care of at all times. However, you’ll also need to move around the city, and for the most part, you’ll find yourself using public transportation or perhaps your own car, or a taxi. Try switching to a bicycle instead, and you’ll not just burn calories but you’ll significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Walk wherever you can, as long as it’s at a reasonable distance and in a safe neighborhood, of course. Public transportation is the next best thing when you do need wheels, and it certainly beats using a car every time you need to run errands outside of your college campus.
Choose green brands
Finally, some of your old habits truly need to be changed, and now that you’re starting this new chapter of your life, you have the perfect opportunity. For example, the clothes that you wear, are they made locally, and from sustainable fabrics, with no toxic dyes? Are you investing in garments that are meant to last longer and not be replaced before the season is even over?
Make sure to look for green brands that have transparent, eco-friendly practices and preferably ones that are local to avoid international shipping, which would mean transport pollution and plastic packaging, too. The same goes for the food that you buy, as choosing local, seasonal goods is not only a great pick for your health, but also our planet.
The life of a student is a challenging one, but you can truly make a difference with all of these and many other decisions you make on a daily basis. Use these tips to guide you on your eco-friendly journey during college, and make sure to spread the word so that