Leaving home for college is a big step in a young adult’s life. Becoming independent and being on your own is and exciting step in life and it’s a great time to start some green habits. It’s much easier to lead an eco-friendly life if you start early instead of having to relearn bad habits.
In the dorm
Many dorm rooms are way too bright for most people’s comfort and just offer two settings, on or off. Bring your own lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb. You will find that the mood and feeling of your room feels much more like home, unless you lived in a warehouse. Take advantage of any natural light during the day by opening your curtains.
Buy environmentally friendly products for your room. This goes for everything from toiletries to laundry detergent. Keep a cloth rag on hand for spills or other cleaning. Keep a small towel to use as a napkin. Toss these in with your laundry and you will save some trees and money by not having to buy paper towels or napkins.
Adjust your computer’s power settings to have your screen turn off and eventually set your computer to hibernate after a set time of inactivity. Plug in electronics to power strips, which can be powered off with the flip of a switch. This prevents electronic devices from sucking energy even when they aren’t on.
Carry a refillable bottle for drinking water. The most common item in the trash cans at my school was empty bottles of water. Besides the obvious problem of all the waste, many of these bottles were purchased in vending machines for $1.75. I was more concerned about drinking another fluid in college, beer, which is another area where students can go green. Search out local breweries and find a beer that suits you. By buying local you will help save the environment because it takes a lot less energy to transport local beer to you.
Use a three-ring binder to take notes using loose-leaf paper. Loose paper is packaged much more environmentally friendly. You could also take notes on your laptop. I found this very easy because I can type faster than I write and found it easier to keep up in class.
If you have a chance to present an issue in a class, choose a green topic. This will help educate your peers and it’s also a great conversation starter. Find other students who share your interest in the environment and either join a club or organization or start one.
**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons