As a college student, finding easy and budget friendly ways to “go green” can seem nearly impossible. DIY projects can be too time consuming, and few college students have money to invest in eco-friendly appliances and solar panels. Many want to make a difference, but don’t know how. We want change, but what can we do?
“It’s bad. The U.S. should really make some changes in how we use fossil fuels,” Laura Ekada, a UCC wrestling athlete, said.
Worrying about larger issues like climate change can undermine efforts on smaller steps that even busy college students can take to go green. And, reduction of local recycling efforts is also discouraging.
College students can easily do these ten things to be more eco-friendly without breaking the bank:
1. Open up blinds and curtains in your house during the day as a natural source of lighting to reduce use of electricity. It’s good for the environment, and it saves you money.
2. Unplug things you are not using. If there are items that you don’t use often, unplug them while not in use. This saves a surprising amount of energy. According to the National Resources Defense Council, appliances in standby or “sleep-mode” contribute to “1,375 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity used in U.S. homes annually and the nearly 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution—15 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions— from burning fossil fuels to generate it every year.”
3 . Use reusable water bottles. Most people already own a reusable water bottle, so single use bottles can be left behind. The Guardian newspaper, using statistics from Euromonitor, reported that “a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20 percent by 2021.”
4. Shop at thrift stores. It’ll save you tons of money, and it’s a fun form of recycling. Plus, many thrift stores such as Goodwill are now recycling electronic devices for consumers.
5. Eat at home more often. Using the food you already have at home for meals leads to less waste. All of those trips to Dutch might look great on your Snapchat but not on your budget.
6. Turn off the sink while you brush your teeth or wash your face. A surprising amount of water cycles through in the thirty seconds you spend scrubbing. One drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website Water Source.
7. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. If no one is in the room, then there’s no reason for light. Your electric bill will thank you.
8. Take shorter showers. The warm steamy water may be a good way to relax, but it’s stressful on the environment because it uses excess water. “A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons,” according to Water Source.
9. Carpool more. Not only will you save money on gas (by splitting the bill), you will not have to drive as much. You may also get to spend a little extra time with your friends.
10. Don’t run the dishwasher or do laundry until the machines are full. This gives you an excuse to not have to do these things as often.
For more information on this topic, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has created a comprehensive website on climate change where many facts can be found. •