College can be the first time students are exposed to a bigger worldview and develop a keen understanding of their footprint on the environment. Going green on a college campus does not necessarily mean rethinking every single daily activity. To foster a deeper appreciation for how we can find ways in our daily lives to protect the welfare of our planet for generations to come, consider these three simple ways to reduce waste on college campuses and promote sustainability.
1. Think Twice Before Pressing Print.
Whether it is on your personal computer or something that is instituted on all campus printers, the default setting for any print job should be set to double sided. It is inevitable that students will have to print massive amounts of papers throughout the academic year. To reduce paper waste and increase the longevity of printers, printing on both sides of the paper can literally cut total paper usage in half without anyone having to read exclusively on a computer screen.
2. Consider Composting Alongside Trash and Recycle Bins.
This is an especially easy change to implement in dining halls. Many universities across the country are now offering composting bins in cafeterias. In addition to preventing the unnecessary disposal of excess trash, this also helps dining institutions on college campuses take stock of the amount of food waste on a daily basis. The added benefit of this is that it can actually help reduce the amount of money spent on food, which is ultimately ending up in the compost bin.
3. Host Campus Yard Sales.
While some used goods are readily available online or in local thrift stores, hosting a campus wide yard sale is an excellent way to reduce waste and encourage students to reuse certain items in new ways. Students will appreciate the cost savings benefits, and they will be getting a lesson in sustainability at the same time. This program would obviously prevent many items from being unnecessarily trashed at the end of the semester or as students trade in their Ikea furniture upon graduation. In addition to that, it keeps students from having to buy additional items and reduces the pollution associated with producing and manufacturing those extra items.
Going green on a college campus does not have to involve a complete overhaul of campus life. In fact, small, gradual changes to some mindless daily behaviors can have astounding results on the overall protection of our planet. Given the widespread support for the go green movement, there is no lack of sources of inspiration across college campuses in the U.S. today. Students and programs actively involved in increasing sustainability are often more than happy to share their ideas with interested students.