It seems that almost every day in the news we hear about environmental issues and the need to make changes in order to protect our resources for future generations.
Most people shrug this off, as they do not feel responsible and do not welcome change. It is also assumed these changes will be financially costly, which is typically a barrier for college students. However, there are simple ways to act more environmentally friendly without big changes (such as buying an electric car).
The following suggestions present easy ways for anyone (but especially college students) to be more environmentally conscientious:
- Reusable Water Bottles | Depending on the type, a reusable water bottle usually does not cost a lot of money and is often times given away for free as promotional items. By continuing to refill the bottle you not only save plastic, but also the money that was being spent on single-use water bottles. Additionally, many of the drinking fountains at Naz have a refill spout specifically for bottles. This simple change is not only good for the environment, but also your wallet.
- Avoid Take-Out Containers When Possible | When containers are contaminated with food, they cannot be recycled unless they have been cleaned. So, if you are planning to eat right away at the CAB or Sorelles, ask for your food not to be put into the take-out containers. This can help to reduce plastic waste. Also, if you are eating off campus, try to avoid using Styrofoam take-out containers. Styrofoam is not widely accepted for recycling and is not biodegradable (meaning that it does not break down).
- Bring Your Own Shopping Bags | Most people are familiar with the massive piles of plastic shopping bags that can accumulate. We often hide them away in drawers or in a closet, and use one every once in a while. Instead, bring those back to a participating store for recycling, and invest in a reusable bag if you have not already. They typically cost around one dollar at almost all chain stores, and come in a variety of colors and designs. These reusable bags are a better alternative, as they are larger and sturdier than traditional plastic shopping bags. TIP: leave at least one in the car in case you forget or make a last-minute stop.
- Turn Off and Unplug Items Not in Use | This suggestion can often be overlooked, but even items that are turned off can still use electricity if plugged in. It takes little effort to unplug small items like phone cords, laptop chargers, and other items used less frequently (like toasters). If this seems like too much of a hassle, try using a power strip. This allows you to turn off multiple items that are plugged in with one switch.
Although these suggestions are small, they certainly can add up over time. With little effort, you can incorporate more environmentally friendly choices into your day.