Sustainability is probably the last thing on the minds of some college students who are trying to get by taking classes, working, and all the other concerns on our minds. However, there are easy ways to be more sustainable that benefit the planet, your wallet, and other benefits you probably never thought of. Here are 5 easy ways to be a greener college student:
1) Refill Water – Glass or stainless steel water bottles can be washed, reused, and refilled, unlike plastic water bottles which cost more and put more of a strain on the environment. There are places to fill up your water container all over Hofstra’s campus, which you can only do once or twice with disposable plastic bottles.
2) Reuse or Return Plastic Bags – Extra plastic bags can be more useful than you think: they can line the garbage pail in your dorm room, serve as cushioning for packages, transporting wet clothes, or they can be returned to the supermarket for recycling.
3) Buy and Cook in Bulk – Cooking is cheaper, often healthier, and the groceries needed for it may waste less packaging than the big bag of takeout you would otherwise throw away. While cooking is also more time-consuming, do it in groups and you can have fun together while saving even more money.
4) Conserve Paper and Notebooks – Instead of buying new notebooks that you throw out at the end of each semester, buy one large notebook so you can use the remaining sections for other classes or future semesters. Old notes and print-outs can go in a paper bag to bring home at the end of the semester for recycling. Better yet, ask your professors if they mind having laptops in the classroom to conserve paper.
5) Donate to the INN – The Interfaith Nutrition Network is a charity in Hempstead that provides meals and supplies to economically struggling members of the community. Before you get rid of your clothes or other items that would fill up a landfill, check the INN’s list of requested items to see if you can donate. Hofstra works with the INN frequently and hosts collections, especially leading up to the holiday season.