By Gloria Kopp
Just because you moved out doesn't mean that you can't go green. There are tons of easy ways to reduce your impact on the environment, especially in your dorm room. Here are 12 ways you can reduce, reuse, recycle, and REFUSE single-use plastic while studying.
1. Go paperless
The age of the notebook is over. Students are now much more likely to have a laptop under their arm than a folder full of notes. Take their example, and take all your notes electronically. This drastically reduces the amount of paper you use in your studies. It also means it's much easier to organize your notes, just remember to back them up.
2. Get a reusable water bottle.
"Disposable" water bottles are quick and easy, but they are devastating for the environment. Current numbers say that up to 80 percent of them end up in landfill, and they use 3 times as much water to make than they can hold! Buy a plastic-free water bottle, and you'll save money and landfill space.
3. Reuse your bags
Every time you go grocery shopping, you're collecting more and more bags that will just end up as garbage. "Instead, buy some sturdy reusable bags and take them with you. You'll be amazed at how much waste you'll save,” says Laura Lee, research scientist and lecturer at Paper Fellows.
4. Turn off the power
When you leave your dorm room, switch all your electronics off to save power. If you want to make it easier, connect them to a surge protector, then flip that off when you leave.
5. Reuse old furniture
You're excited about decorating a new dorm room, but don't run out to the big box stores just yet. Look on eBay and Gumtree to see what you can get for cheap or free. You can decorate for much less money, and you're saving items from landfill at the same time.
This one sounds obvious, but remember to recycle any recyclable items in your dorm room. If your housing doesn't offer recycling facilities, now is the time to convince your college that they should include them. You'll be a hero!
7. Rent or borrow your entertainment
You can save a ton of money and resources by borrowing your entertainment, rather than buying it. Amber Coburn, a scientific assistant at Essayroo comments: “Most colleges will have a DVD lending section in their library, so take advantage of it. You can even set up a swap of DVDs, books and games between your friends. Get creative!”
8. Use electronic services
Speaking of entertainment, you can get a lot for your money if you use streaming services such a Netflix. They're cheap, and even cheaper if you share the account with a roommate, or a few friends. It'll save a lot of DVDs being left behind when you move out.
9. Leave the car at home
Most college campuses don't really require you to own a car. Leave yours at home, and walk or bike to classes instead. You'll be saving the environment and living a healthier lifestyle in the process.
10. Use energy efficient light bulbs
Energy efficient light bulbs are brilliant for students. “They last for months and months, are fairly cheap to buy, and use minimal electricity. They're super friendly for the earth, and they cost almost nothing to run. If you want to save some money and the environment, they're the way to go," shares Thomas Greer, a lecturer at Ukwritings.
11. Minimize your water usage
Try turning the faucet off as you brush your teeth, or taking quick showers rather than baths. Making small changes to the way you use water will drastically reduce the amount you use overall.
12. Opt out of junk mail
You don't want junk mail, but it finds a way of coming to you. You can stop the waste, though, by opting out of it. Check out Catalog Choice. This way, you won't be bombarded by flyers and you'll be saving paper.
Remember to think about the life of every item you purchase and reuse materials as often as possible. You'll be amazed at how much you can save this way.
For more plastic-free tips, check out the P.L.A.N. Plastic-Free Campus Manual.
Gloria Kopp is an educator and an e-learning consultant from Manville, WY. She works as a content manager at Big Assignments company. She is a regular contributor to websites such as Engadget, Boomessays, and Huffington Post.