My husband and I took the teens to the University of Georgia a few weeks ago for our first college visit. I am so completely freaked out that my son has only one year of high school left. There are so many things to do before he leaves! I have started looking for some easy green living tips for college students to help reduce his carbon footprint in the years to come. Since he NEEDS to go to college (even if it stresses me out a lot!) I wanted to find some creative ways to make his journey a little bit lighter on the planet. Of course, I would love for him to find an eco friendly career one day but we need to deal with the hear and now of continuing education at the moment.
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Easy Green Living Tips for College Students
Most college kids focus on classes, study time, and socializing. Probably not in that order! Not many of them focus on green living or how to reduce their carbon footprint. However, there are many ways to live green while at college and several of those ways will also save money. That is defintely something that most college kids need to do! Check out my post on ecofriendly living tips and encourage your college aged child to try a few of these ideas:
Recycle Everything You Can
College kids go through a ton of resources. There are huge stacks of paper, tons of cans and bottles (preferably from non-alcoholic beverages!), and plenty of cardboard pizza boxes. Encourage them to seek out recycling bins that are convenient to them. If they keep their eyes open on their walk to class, they will probably find a ton of recycling bins. Many classroom buildings have paper recycling bins as well. Investigate everything from electronics recycling to reusable water bottles. There are millions of ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
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Skip the Car
If you are looking for easy green living tips for college students that will save a ton of money, this is it. Cars on campus have their uses but if you are actually living at college and not commuting, try skipping the car. Take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk to your classes whenever possible. You will save a significant amount of money on gas, which you can put towards more socializing! Or more notebooks, of course! You will also save yourself a lot of hassle.
Walking to the public lot and trying to find parking takes a lot of time. Buy a good bicycle and invest in a strong bike lock instead of driving to reduce your carbon footprint. Consider buying a motorcycle if you really need gas powered transportation.
Buy Eco-friendly Products:
There is no way to get around it, college requires lots of stuff. You need school supplies, clothes, food, etc for at least 4 years. Being mindful of your purchases will help you reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few eco-friendly shopping tips for college students:
- Hit the thrift stores: Choose second hand whenever you can. Look for high-end consignment shops that carry name brand items if you are concerned about fitting in and having the right ‘stuff’. Or choose eco-friendly fabrics like hemp clothing. We shop at Plato’s Closet regularly. If you will have your own kitchen at college, check out the second-hand supply of dishes and small appliances.
- Recycled office products: Choose recycled office products if you find them. Eco friendly pencils for math class and recycled office paper will help reduce your carbon footprint. Buy your text books second hand if possible to save a ton of money!
- Local food: Support local restaurants rather than large chain businesses when you eat out. You are better off buying your pizza from a local family than from nameless corporations! Choose green beer (after age 21 of course!) and a small family restaurant to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Electronics: Buy power supplies that help reduce ghost electricity usage. Some have a ‘green’ plug that helps use less energy. Investing in a green power supply is one way to reduce your energy usage. Also, make sure to buy eco friendly light bulbs for your dorm room.
- Skip the disposables: Invest in a good stainless steel water bottle and other convenient ways to stop throwing things away!
Use Less When Possible
One of the easiest green living tips for college students to adopt is to just use LESS of the things you use. Reduce your paper usage by taking notes directly on your laptop. Take shorter showers so that you use less water. Go meatless on Mondays so that you are eating less meat. Grab an apple instead of a package of chips so that you create less trash. Just being mindful of your day to day habits will help you reduce your carbon footprint quite a bit!
I will definitely be sharing these easy green living tips for college students with my son. Hopefully, he will remember to use them every once in a while!
Have any other eco-friendly tips for college students to share?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.