Five Ways To Be More Sustainable This School Year
By Alia Hurst
College is a crucial time to create good habits and begin conducting eco-friendly practices. “Going Green” as a college student might sound overwhelming due to financial limitations or just not knowing where to start. Whether you take big steps or small steps in becoming more aware and eco-friendly, you are inevitably protecting and preserving the planet.
Here are five suggestions to help you get started:
1. Pay Attention to Packaging and Bags
According to the Earth Policy Institute, 100 billion plastic bags and assorted packaging pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—which is almost one bag per person each day. The Environmental Protection Agency adds to that statistic by noting that in 2018, over three million tons of plastic packaging and bags were found in landfills. When running errands or getting groceries for the dorm or apartment, be sure to bring reusable bags or boxes to stray away from copious amounts of plastic waste.
College brings a lot of assignments and projects but with those come the technology required to complete them. On average, college students will bring seven tech devices to campus with them for either personal or educational use. It is important to be courteous of unplugging those devices when they’re not being used to preserve energy and power.
3. Use Reusable Bottles and Mugs
Instead of contributing to the packaging consumption issue, look into purchasing a refillable and reusable water bottle to carry around campus. This might not seem like a huge deal, but if a whole student body owned a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, plastic waste and consumption would inevitably decline, drastically.
4. Buy Secondhand
Goodwill’s five Southeast Nebraska locations make sustainable shopping easy for college students. In addition to buying clothes, students can purchase household items, décor, and everyday goods that have been gently used to cut down on the production of new resources and reduce waste. Additionally, when you are buying items secondhand, a good rule of thumb is to donate clothes or items as well. It is important to take inventory of what you need, what you don’t, and donate.
As often as you can, consider walking to events/class/work rather than driving. Walking can drastically decrease emissions while also providing you with exercise. This not only helps your health and the planet, but it also helps your pockets. Saving money in any capacity is crucial in college because the money saved from not buying fuel could go towards books, a meal at the cafeteria, or a coffee at the campus shop (in a reusable mug of course). For more sustainability tips, follow Lincoln Goodwill on social media and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.