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Advice from College Students

10 Things Students Can Do to Save the Environment

10 Things Students Can Do to Save the Environment

With classes, exams, and busy schedules, being environmentally friendly isn’t exactly at the top of every college student’s to-do list.

But going green isn’t as difficult as you might think…

It only takes a few simple changes. The best part is that you’ll be saving more than just the planet; you’ll be saving money as well. Just follow these 10 To-Dos to reduce your environmental impact and live greener.

To Do #1:  Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Well, duh. Recycling may be one of the easiest and most well known things you
can do for the environment. Just think about how many cans and glass bottles
you threw out after that ragin’ party you had last night. What if you had recycled
them? Most students are not taking advantage of programs at their colleges or
universities, probably because they don’t know about them. Find out what
recycling programs are available at your school, and how you can help reduce
waste and lower your environmental impact.


To Do #2:  Trade That Burger for a Salad

Don’t worry guys; you don’t have to completely give up those steaks and
cheeseburgers. But did you know that it takes 2,500 gallons of water, 12
pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent to one gallon of
gasoline to produce one pound of beef? Just think about how much meat you
eat per day. It adds up! And you probably didn’t know that cooking meat,
specifically red meats, uses more energy than cooking vegetables. By cutting
down your meat intake, even just a little, you can save energy- and saving
energy saves you money.

CHECK OUT: Vegetarian Recipes


To Do #3:  Buy a Reusable Grocery Bag

This may be the first time in your life that you are grocery shopping on your
own. Now that you are in charge of your grocery store excursions, you get to
make the big decision when asked, “Paper or plastic?” Of those options, paper is
obviously the best choice. However, many stores are currently promoting the
use of reusable grocery bags. Many grocery stores even give discounts if you
bring a reusable bag to use when you shop there. (Wholefoods gives a 10-cent
discount per bag!)


To Do #4:  Say Goodbye to Bottled Water

Bottled Water: Getting you to pay for something that should be free. Not only is
it a waste of money, the plastic from water bottles can sit in landfills for 500 or
more years before they even begin to decompose. The solution? A water filter
and a reusable water bottle. Water filters are a great idea if your tap water isn’t
up to par. They can get pretty fancy and even attach directly to your faucet, but
the cheapest one for college students is a pitcher filter. And of course, a
reusable water bottle (like a Nalgene) is a great investment for any student. You
can take it to the gym, to class, or fill it with things other than water…

CHECK OUT: Brita Water Filters


To Do #5:  Change Your Light Bulbs

Most college students know by now to “turn the lights off when you leave a
room.” There is no doubt that this will help save energy, but what about when
the lights are on? Most traditional light bulbs use more energy than necessary.
By switching to energy star bulbs, you will be using 75% less energy and saving
about $30 per bulb.


To Do #6: Swap Clothes

One of the best things about living with other students your own age is being
able to raid their closets. Don’t feel like wearing the same shirt out again? Just
look in your roommate’s closet! Instead of constantly buying new clothes and
throwing out old ones, try having a clothing swap among your friends. You end
up with a whole wardrobe of like-new clothes and don’t have to spend any
money (what can be better than that?!). If your friends aren’t into that, try
buying used clothes at a secondhand store. It’s cheaper than buying them
brand new, and they will gladly take donations of your old clothes too!

CHECK OUT: Find a Thrift Store Near You


To Do #7:  Open a Window

This is an easy one. Turning up the A.C. turns up your electricity bills, simple as
that. Just open a window and let the breeze cool you down. If you are one of
those people that just NEED to be cold, try a window air conditioner. They are
small enough to cool a room and won’t use as much energy as cooling your
whole house or apartment.


To Do #8:  Keep Portions In Mind

While traditional serving sizes are staying the same, meal portions at restaurants
seem to keep increasing over time. You are paying more, getting more, and
usually unable to finish it all. The leftover food either gets thrown out and goes
to waste, or goes home with you in a styrofoam box (that will most likely end up
in a landfill). Next time you go out to eat, try getting a small or half-sized
portion, or sharing a full meal with a friend. You will be reducing waste, as well
as keeping costs down for yourself


To Do #9:  Ride a Bike

It is a well-known fact that automobile emissions are harmful to the
environment. Riding a bike to school or work can greatly reduce your
environmental impact. If you would still rather ride in luxury than care about the
environment, think about the other benefits of bike riding. With gas at almost
$3 per gallon, riding a bike even one day per week can save you money. Plus,
the exercise is great for your body, especially if you need to work off that
“freshman 15”


To Do #10:  Recharge Your Batteries

As a college student, you probably use more portable electronic devices than
you realize. Calculators, digital cameras, and MP3 players are just a few of the
items you probably use daily that take batteries. With heavy use they will go
through batteries pretty quickly. Batteries contain heavy metals like mercury and
cadmium, which have become a major source of contamination in dump sites.
To prevent this, use rechargeable batteries, and recycle the used alkaline
batteries you already have.


To Do #11:  Take Advantage of Student Discounts

If you're saving money, you can use the extra cash to help planet earth...right? 

CHECK OUT:  Discounts and coupons for college students


 

Contributor:  This month's list was provided by Stage of Life user, Laura, a BS Environmental Science major at the University of Delaware.

Have a list or site to suggest?  Contact us

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