Green Your Pad: College Style

One great way to get ready for campus life is by creating a more eco friendly dorm or apartment. The college student’s lifestyle can often result in a lot of waste, so finding simple ways to recycle and conserve can go a long way towards improving our environment.

Below is a list of tips to help get you started in the right direction.  Additionally, be sure to check out the resources available at your school.  Many colleges and universities have clubs and organizations that will help you along with more eco conscious living. The University of Arizona, for example, has the Residence Life Sustainability Program, which has volunteers for each residence hall known as Eco-Reps that, among other things, organize events like recycling drives as well as help educate others about sustainability issues.

Start with these suggestions.  Remember, you’re a young, innovative college student.  If anyone can find more ways to be greener, it’s you.

Green Dorm Tips

Become a Health Food Junkie:  Eating healthy some of the time is better than none of the time, and it will help to avoid the infamous “freshman 15” (or sophomore, junior & senior for that matter).  Keep plenty of whole, grab and go type food items on hand like fresh fruit, nuts and cheese. Nutritional bars, while not a whole food, get the job done.

Dine in Style:  Limit your use of disposable paper plates and plastic utensils.  Sure they seem more convenient, but they’re also wasteful.  Impress your friends by having dishes you can wash and reuse.

Drink Responsibly:   Try and kick the plastic water bottle habit.  Get yourself a reusable water bottle to carry around with you and refill as needed.   If the idea of drinking dorm water is a concern, you can buy larger containers of water to keep in your fridge or install a water filter if that’s an option.

Buy Large:  Buy needed items in bulk when you can. Create your own little “shopping co-op” with a roommate, friend or group of friends. This will save you money and cut down on the whole wasteful packaging thing.

Buy Small:  When it comes to kitchen appliances go with these. For cooking, the microwave and/or toaster ovens are the winning energy savers.  If a mini fridge is a must buy, then make it one that’s low-energy certified.

Just Say No:  To “paper or plastic?.”  Get yourself a reusable tote bag to carry groceries, books or other items you need to pick up while out shopping.  Once again you will be cutting down on waste.

2nd Time’s a Charm:  Take full advantage of second hand shops.  They tend to bring out the “inner frugal” in us all.   Pick up furniture, appliances, home goods, clothes and more.

Use Printer Savvy: Print on both sides of the paper when able.  Use the high quality setting on the things that need it, and the low quality setting on the things that don’t.  Always go with bookmarking something instead of printing it when possible.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle:  Anything you can’t reuse yourself be sure to recycle.  Find out where the recycling bins are around your campus and be sure to recycle everything you can. Typical recyclable items include paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass.

Power it Down:  Use a power strip(s) to plug in appliances and electronics.  This gives you one simple thing to unplug at night and will keep cord chaos syndrome under control.

Be a Water Miser: Report any leaks immediately!  Personal habits wise, turn the water off when brushing your teeth, take shorter and cooler showers and let your laundry build to a full size load before throwing it in.

Get Mean, Green and Clean: Stock up on environmentally safe, biodegradable cleaning products. While you’re busy ridding your space of dirt and germs you might as well keep the chemical toxins out too.

We hope you find this list helpful: Maybe share it with your dorm friends! The more each of us can contribute, the better the planet will be.

If you have ideas that you would like to share…… let us know!

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