Passing the Test: How to Go Green at College

Most freshman college students have faced similar difficulties as they headed out the door–deciding what to pack and what to leave, buying the right supplies and textbooks, affording their bills, saying goodbye to friends, telling mom not to worry . . . . Now, in addition to these original obstacles, students need to leap another hurdle. Going green.

If you’re a new college student, or even one with several years under your belt, you’re probably wondering how to be both environmentally conscious and deal with an empty wallet. On a student’s budget, purchasing clothing made from organic clothing and shopping only at health food stores may seem far too expensive and thus impossible. However, many times we all fail to remember that going green isn’t merely keeping up with the trendy, expensive methods of reducing your carbon footprint. And in fact, sometimes the cheap and free ways of staying environmentally conscious can create better results.

Let’s go back to the basics: reduce, reuse, recycle. First, reduce. Buy less. Save yourself money and the environment at the same time. For example, buying another pair of shoes may increase your waste as well as support harmful factories.

Now, reuse. If you need those new shoes, consider a thrift store. You’ll reuse someone else’s waste, create your own unique style, and saving money all at once. Also, refuse both paper and plastic at the grocery store. Choose cloth. And don’t bother with wasting money on a trendy shopping bag. Look in your closet. What unused bags do you have sitting around that you could reuse as grocery bags?

Finally, recycle. One of the current trends is goods made from post-consumer recycled materials. While this practice is certainly profitable it’s also expensive. Keep in mind, no matter how much money you spend on these products, you haven’t shown yourself responsible if you aren’t recycling the products you already use.

In essence, true environmental conservation requires common sense. Implement a little practical application of some basic rules and you can both go green and pay your bills at the same time.