Five easy ways college students can help the environment

Five easy ways college students can help the environment

Most college students are limited in what they can do to protect the environment. It’s unrealistic for us to to buy an electric vehicle or install solar panels, for example. But there are simple (and free) ways we can reduce our environmental impact.   Reduce single-use plastics Single-use plastics, like straws and plastic lids, typically

Most college students are limited in what they can do to protect the environment. It’s unrealistic for us to to buy an electric vehicle or install solar panels, for example. But there are simple (and free) ways we can reduce our environmental impact.

 

Reduce single-use plastics

Single-use plastics, like straws and plastic lids, typically can’t be recycled. The plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces but never completely biodegrade, and they eventually end up in our oceans. In the United States alone, 500 million straws are used every day, which is turning our oceans into “plastic soup.” Reducing single-use plastics is incredibly easy. It’s as simple as using a reusable coffee cup and asking for your drink without a straw. Many coffee shops will fill your reusable coffee cup for the price of a small, so it’s cost effective. 

Recycle your homework

Everyone has heard of the 3 Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. They are good words to live by! Recycling conserves natural resources, reduces water and air pollution and saves space in landfills for trash that can’t be recycled. We all know the feeling of wanting to trash homework or notebooks from a class after you walk out of the final, but next time, throw that paper in the recycling bin instead.

Compost

UNC-Chapel Hill has provided so many great resources to reduce environmental impact, including compost bins all around campus. The bins are impossible to miss in the dining halls, but many people don’t know there are also compost bins outside every residential community. Composting helps to keep food waste out of the landfills and returns valuable nutrients to the soil. Almost everything in our dining halls is compostable, so this is a really small way to have a big impact.

Ride the bus

Chapel Hill has a great free public transportation network, so use it! The buses can get you essentially everywhere around campus and around Chapel Hill or Carrboro. Aside from being cost effective, public transportation saves fuel and decreases road congestion, which is already a huge issue in Chapel Hill.

Turn off the faucet

This is probably something your parents told you a lot growing up, but turning off the water while you’re brushing your teeth or being conscious of the length of your showers can make a huge difference. Reducing waste water from your house (or dorm) saves a valuable natural resource and reduces the energy needed to treat and pump water into your home. If you really commit, you can even save money on your water bill.

 

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