We all have a carbon footprint, our own impact on the environment by our lifestyle choices and every decision we make including what we purchase and eat. We wrote in a previous article about overall lifestyle changes to reduce your carbon footprint, but what can we specifically do about the college lifestyle? In schools, colleges, and universities the amount of waste can be astronomical and almost appalling. So what can you do as a college student to lessen the waste in college? 

Refill and Reuse 

Even though washing dishes in a tiny dorm sink isn’t ideal, you can reuse Tupperware and take out containers from the dining hall or Chinese restaurants. Instead of throwing away your plastic water bottle after one use, refill it for the rest of the day. You can rinse out your Gatorade and soda bottles too! Purchasing a reusable water bottle or a pitcher with a filter to keep in your dorm is also another great idea and saves money in the long run. Old spaghetti jars can be used to hold pens and pencils, cereal, or unfinished snacks. You can see if you can bring your own containers to the dining hall as well to reduce waste that way and whatever you do not finish, save for later! 

Ditch the Paper 

If it’s harder for you to learn online, then this won’t be for you. However, technology has given us a ton of access to tools to help reduce waste when it comes to studying and learning. I cannot tell you how many flash cards I would throw away after my midterms or finals. Nowadays, Quizlet is extremely popular and professors have even gone out of their way to create flash card sets for reviewing in class. If you have access to an iPad, Notability is an excellent app to use to take detailed notes in and you can even download and annotate PDFs. It’s unlikely you’ll ever use a notebook from Introduction to Physics ever again if it’s not pertaining to your major—so reduce your paper trail. 

Reusable Masks 

When walking on campus, the most common thing I see is disposable masks. Everywhere. In the parking garage, stairs, elevators, classrooms, the bookstore, dining hall—you name it. There’s one just blowing away in the breeze. Depending on your state, there still might be a mask mandate or you are not comfortable not wearing one in public. I keep disposable ones on me for visiting hospitals and the doctors offices; however, for everything else I use washable ones. Do your research on quality ones that will sustain the washer or intensive wear since you’ll be wearing them a lot! Get ones that fit your individual needs and style!

Thrift Shop

It can be tempting to buy decor, furniture, plates and so on at a store and buy things brand new. However, you can buy everything for a fraction of the price and purchase some really great and unique things. Another plus is a lot of things can be less than a dollar! You can also purchase books, movies, and clothes as well…there’s no shame in thrift shopping. Save money and the planet every chance you can get! 

What Do You Do? 

What are some ways you reduce waste at college? Do you have any tips you would like to share? Let us know and we will be in touch!