It wasn’t until I became a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin that I became a much more green-savvy person.
For years, I had taken advantage of all the countless energy sources at my disposal. Throughout my young-adulthood, I never recycled, devoured numerous packaged, processed foods, left the lights on all night, took 30-plus-minute showers, and embraced numerous other wasteful habits. Things turned around for me though when I met my green-conscious freshman roommate.
At first, she and I butted heads about our different lifestyles, but after a few heart-to-heart talks about green lifestyles, I realized that my roommate wasn’t trying to show off: she was simply trying to make less of a waste impact on the world. With her help, I embraced some green-friendly lifestyle habits that helped me become much less wasteful. Below are four of the most useful tips she gave me to go green at college.
Not only does buying local food help build small economies, it’s also good for the environment. If you look hard enough, you’ll likely find a farmers market close to your campus that sells local, fresh food. Some people choose not to buy local in the fear that it will cost too much money. Yet even if local food is more expensive, its benefits are too great to be overlooked: local food cuts down on mass food transportation, which pollutes the environment, helps build local farming communities, builds direct connections between farmers and their consumers, and, frankly, tastes much better. Where could you go wrong?
Every time I see students rushing their way to bookstores to buy new, 500-plus-page textbooks, I want to cry. Not only is buying a new textbook expensive, it’s an absolute waste of ink and paper. Nowadays, textbooks are being converted into e-reader forms so that students can access them on their Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and numerous other electronic-reading devices. Before you set your sights on buying a new textbook, check and see if the book is accessible in an e-reader form. They’ll be cheaper and make much less of an impact on the environment.
Whenever I’m in a rush, I’m always tempted to throw my recyclables right into the trash, but I always stop myself from doing so, knowing that I’ll regret it later. In college, especially, I had a tough time accessing recycling bins around my campus. Although it might not be the most convenient thing to find, always seek out recycling bins if you have recyclable items to get rid of. Although you might not feel like you’re making the biggest difference in the world in recycling small items, remember, a handful of little efforts always add up to something much greater.
I got tired of driving my car to campus day after day, so I decided to invest in two wheels instead of four. Not only did riding a bike to campus allow me to get exercise and save on gas money, I significantly reduced my energy footprint. If your campus is bike-friendly, consider investing in a safe, efficient bike to get you to and from campus. Your wallet and the environment will thank you for it!
College is the perfect time to consider how you can reduce your overall energy consumption. Whether you’re recycling, biking, using an e-reader, or buying local, you can make a difference.
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