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March 7, 2014

Reduce Pollution and Save Money: College Student Edition

Topics: Recycling and Ways to help the environment.


Help The Environment and Save Money For School.

Environmental action can be difficult to translate into a busy academic schedule. Many college students feel that they don’t have the money, time or energy for extra responsibilities. However, working to reduce pollution has the added benefit of being easy on your wallet, helping to lessen the burden of a constrained budget and burgeoning loans. If you are looking to earn money then check out this article.

Here are simple, everyday approaches to reducing pollution and saving money, for college-bound or current students:

Reduce Reuse Recycle

If you have ever been to a store during the first week or orientation week of college, you probably have seen the chaos that ensues from students searching for new items to decorate their dorm rooms, furnish their apartments, and stocking up on school supplies. Unfortunately, many of those items–such as broken lamps, too-small fridges for the new apartment next year, thousands of sheets of printing paper for class, and the plastic bags and packaging for all of these things–will end up in trash heaps by the end of the year.

Available for $21 on Etsy.

There are many simple DIY hacks that you can use to reduce your waste and save some money, such as reusing jam jars, etc. as drinking glasses, (you can do it with soda/beer bottles too) and using recycled paper to print readings or create a notebook. Buying (or finding free) used furniture from yard sales or off Craigslist can also help save money, and saves a couch from a landfill. And washing, sterilizing, and reusing bottles or glass jars for storing bulk food items or as desk storage saves students from buying plastic organizers. There are many ways to get creative with saving and recycling “waste” into useful (and attractive) objects, which will create efficient, waste-not habits later on in life.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – DIY Your Life

Spot Energy-Reducing Fixes at Home

Whether you live in a dorm, apartment, or shared house, reducing energy waste and pollution can help bring down energy bills. Replacing a desk lamp or ceiling light with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) or LED light can greatly reduce the amount of energy wasted, therefore reducing your electricity bill and the energy used from fossil fuels. Watching less TV also reduces your electric bill, big time. Getting rid of the TV and cable–and watching your favorite shows on your laptop instead–is more energy efficient.

Taking advantage of walking or biking to class or taking public transit goes a long way toward reducing air pollution, as well as the amount of money you spend on gas. Stick around to enjoy the campus more often: visit the library, hang out in friends’ rooms, and study in various cafes around town. Local downtime allows you to interact with the great people in your direct community. While you’re out, make sure lights are off, the heat or air conditioning is set to off or an energy-efficient setting for the season, and power strips are off. This will help reduce the pollution your home creates.

Casual Environmental Activism

There are many college organizations and chapters that serve to challenge environmental issues, whether local or global. Joining an organization, or creating one, are easy ways to meet like-minded people interested in addressing pollution. Many on-campus orgs also have large audiences and a bit of a budget to help the organization reach their goals and start initiatives.

Love The Wheels

Photo by Tony Alter.

You can also use Creeklife as a platform for your own campaign to clean up an area important to you, or in conjunction with your campus organization. Creeklife allows you to post photos and information about a place threatened by pollution, and serves to help community members raise funds for its clean up. Working with your local community to get rid of trash in a creek, for example, is one way Creeklife can be utilized, and it serves the public. Beginning an action like this will not only reduce pollution, but it can be a great leadership role to put on a resume, both saving and making you money one day!

Overall, being conscious of your daily environment, from your room to your campus and beyond, can lead to a cleaner world. Every small change helps , and you don’t need to spend much money as a college student to make those changes.

Posted by Mark Contorno

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