Dorm life is a great transitional step between living at home and living on your own. It’s also an excellent time to cultivate eco-friendly habits that reduce waste and encourage sustainable living.
Why should college students be eco-friendly?
Taking a look at a few statistics shows how dire the environmental crisis really is:
– A college student will, on average, produce 640 pounds of solid waste per year.
– Students will produce, on average, 500 disposable cups per year.
– Each American produces around 90 000 pounds of rubbish in their lifetime.
Fortunately, there are actions you can take to combat this crisis, and your dorm is the best place to start.
- Avoid plastic utensils
Single use plastics like disposable knives and forks contribute to global warming. Their manufacture uses fossil fuels and releases massive amounts of greenhouse gas. When plastic is discarded in landfills it increases the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Always use reusable cutlery, as well as cups and mugs.
- Save water
Cutting down on water waste is one of the most eco-friendly actions to take. Why?
– Droughts are on the increase.
– Many people already have little or no access to clean water.
– The Earth’s water supply is finite–97.5% of the water on Earth is saltwater.
Take shorter showers and close the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. Both will save a lot of water.
- Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products
The chemicals in many cleaning products are extremely harmful to the environment. Try to buy plant-based products, or even make your own to clean your dorm.
- Buddy up to do laundry
Doing little bits of laundry every few days wastes a lot of water. That doesn’t mean you should wear dirty clothes all the time. Try buddying up with a friend or roommate to avoid wasting water every laundry day.
- Use reusable bags for shopping
Many shops are getting better at cutting down on plastic bags, but there’s still a long way to go. If you carry a light tote bag, it’s easy to cut down on your personal plastic use.
- Reuse glass jars instead of plastic containers
Rather than buying plastic containers to store food, use recycled glass jars. This cuts down on plastic waste. Every bit of plastic you buy contributes to the tons of non-biodegradable rubbish polluting the planet.
- Minimize use of heaters and air conditioners
It’s very convenient to turn on the heater or air con to make your dorm more comfortable, but both appliances use a lot of electricity. Every bit of power saved is a help in the fight against climate change.
- Unplug devices when not using them
It’s easy to forget to unplug chargers or to leave your phone or laptop plugged in unnecessarily. Even if you’re one of the large percentage of people who use their phones before they go to sleep, make sure you don’t leave it plugged in the whole night.
- Use LED lights or CFLs (compact fluorescent lights)
Using the right bulbs can save a lot of electricity. Avoid halogen lights, which are less energy efficient. Instead, opt for LED lights or CFLs, which last longer.
- Natural air freshener
Just like eco-friendly cleaning products, home-made or natural air freshener is the environmentally friendly alternative. Use candles or keep little bags of lavender in your room to keep it smelling fresh.
Every little bit helps when it comes to combating climate change. Don’t discount the effects of your good dorm habits, no matter how small they seem.