With busy schedules and deadlines to hit, college may not seem like the best time to think about becoming more sustainable, however becoming more eco friendly in college is actually a great way to set up habits to last a lifetime. If you ‘re able to stick to being more eco when your busy you should be no problems sticking to it when things settle down.
Adopting a more sustainable approach doesn’t need to be difficult nor expensive. Implementing small changes to your daily routine can help preserve the environment and in some cases can actually save you money. Planet wins; you win
Easy ways to become more eco friendly in college:
- Reuse-able water bottle. If you don’t currently have one now is a great time to invest. Every day more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in incinerators or landfill and a lot of these then end up in the ocean. The average cost of supermarket own brand 500ml bottled water is about 30p. The average college course is three days per week equivalent 120 days per year. If you have a bottle of 30p water each day thats £36.00 per year. For branded bottles at an average price of 98p per 500ml, your daily bottle of water could cost well in excess of £100 per year!
- Take notes on your laptop, phone or tablet instead of using paper where possible. If you, like many others prefer writing notes down (writing notes down involves deeper cognitive-processing of the material than typing) then try to to use scrap paper or a recycled paper notebook. You can then revisit your notes again at a later date and type your notes up electronically which may help you to remember them better.
- Getting to college and back. If you’re within walking distance its better for the environment for you to walk, cycle or use a kick scooter. Non-electric kick scooter” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>kick scooters currently have no law which states you cannot use them on the pavement however you are not allowed to use them on the road. If you live too far away to use these options car sharing or public transport are the more eco friendly options.
- Recycle. If your college has good options for recycling thats great, however if you think they could be doing more why not set up your own recycling programme? for more information please see this link.
- Take a packed lunch. It’s unlikely the canteen will have many eco friendly options available and some (if not most) are likely to come in single use plastics. A lot of college canteens use disposable plates and cutlery which even if they are biodegradable still aren’t as eco friendly as taking your own reuse-able lunch box. We are particularly fond of this bamboo lunchbox with matching bamboo cutlery set.
- Decrease meat consumption. Its now well known that the livestock industry is a large contributor to green house gasses. According to this United Nations report “Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation” If that’s not reason enough for you to want to decrease your meat consumption here are some other reasons to consider: non-meat options are often cheaper, you’ll contribute to the reduction of animal cruelty, you’ll help save the rainforest from destruction to allow space for cattle to graze and grow feed and you’ll be able to discover some more delicious new recipes, the benefits for reduced meat consumption can keep going on, including a wide range of health benefits. Even going meat free one day per week can help.
- Only buy what you need. For the new term lay out everything you already own and only replace what you don’t have. If you do need to replace something try to get an eco alternative:
College essentials and eco alternatives:
Rucksack/ Backpack: Eco friendly materials for backpacks include: hemp canvas, cork, recycled plastics and organic cotton. If you purchase a good quality bag it should easily last you throughout your college years.
Highlighters: To help cut back on your plastic use you can use highlighter pencils. If you’d prefer to use something more similar to standard highlighters these water based highlighters with a cap and barrel made out of 90% renewable resources are a good option.
Stapler: Staple-less staplers are definitely the way forward. Not only is it better in the long run for your wallet its also great for the environment. A small staple may not look like much but every year more than a billion tons of steel are used to make staples alone.
Presentation folders/ Ring binders: From recycled paper ring binders to 100% recycled plastic sleeves, recycled plastic presentation books and file dividers it is possible to be more environmentally friendly.
Flash drive: For all your electronic documents instead of using a flash drive why not back it up to free cloud storage, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. If you are worried about losing something why not back it up to more than one cloud storage system.
Calculator: There is this amazing eco friendly calculator made out of sustainable bamboo or you can get a calculator made from recycled plastics. Both of these are solar powered so reduces the need to replace the batteries often.
Pens / Pencils: 82,000 trees are cut down every year to produce 14 billion pencils worldwide, instead of wooden pencils there are these 2B pencils made out of recycled newspaper. Instead of plastic pens you can use these pens made from rolled paper.
Textbooks: Where possible try to get the textbooks you need secondhand. alibris, ebay, usedbooksearch and blackwells are just a few places you could look.,