If you’ve ever experienced move-in or move-out day at a college residence hall, you know that the building dumpsters are a sight to be seen, literally overflowing with massive amounts of trash. From notebooks, care package contents and dozens of empty pizza boxes, to worn out shower shoes, broken electronics and whatever was congealing in the dorm fridge all of second semester, tons and tons of garbage is produced each year in dorm rooms, putting serious strain on the environment.
If you’re moving yourself or helping someone move into a college dorm in the coming months, it doesn’t have to be an eco-disaster. Here are a few ways to create an eco-friendly college dorm and keep it running efficiently from the first day of classes through final exams.
Shop locally: Avoid the temptation to do all your dorm supplies shopping in your hometown before you move, only to have to then spend the time, money and energy shipping it to your new college town. No matter where you’re going to school, it’s more than likely there is a big box shop such as Target, Walmart or Bed, Bath and Beyond somewhere near campus. Shop locally and avoid creating a larger carbon footprint with a huge move.
Look for the Energy Star: If you require an air conditioning unit or a mini-fridge in your dorm room, make sure they are Energy Star-certified, as these appliances will use half as much energy as regular appliances.
Unplug: While you might remember to turn off your TV and laptop before you head out to that all night frat party, or economics lecture, keeping all of your electronics plugged in to a power strip can seriously suck up a lot of energy. Unplug power cords from the wall and you’ll have the greenest room on the hall.
Buy Reusables: Rather than picking up (and subsequently throwing away) a new styrofoam cup with every cup of coffee you buy at the student union, show some school spirit by purchasing a reusable coffee container (and water bottle, while you’re at it) at your university bookstore. You’ll be doing our planet a favor while also reducing your personal carbon footprint.
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