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Universities around the country are doing everything they can to become a green campus. From the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ campaign to using naturally fueled buses, being an eco friendly campus is not only the “in” thing, but the smart thing.

There are plenty of things that universities have been doing, but there are also items that individual students can do to make a green campus thrive and support having an eco-lifestyle. Here are 10 environmentally friendly ideas for dorm rooms, apartments and campus life in general to make your campus a more eco friendly campus.

1. Recycle everything, especially paper!

The amount of paper a college student goes through per semester is insane; between class notes, scrap copies, term papers, student newspapers, graphs and pictures printed out plus countless other random items add up. We know that these things can’t be avoided, but the way you handle the use of all the paper can really help create a better green campus. Look for recycling bins by garbage bins, dorms, restaurants and classrooms.

2. Use your printer wisely

Teachers usually don’t mind if they read papers that are printed using both sides of the paper. This is a huge way to save on paper. Also, to save ink, use the low quality settings on items that don’t need to look too nice or that are just text. Lastly, think about what you’re printing out. If you can show someone the website on a screen, do it. You don’t need to print it out.

3. Limit the use of disposable cups and plates

Whether you’re in a dorm or moving into your first off-campus apartment, the temptation to buy disposable cups and plates is huge. However, this not only is bad for the environment, but it’s bad for your student finances as well. Buy cheaper plastic plates and cups; one package usually has four sets which are generally enough for one set of roommates. Wash these by hand or throw them in the dish washer if you have one (and remember to only run the washer when it is full to save water).

4. Limit the use of paper napkins

We’re not telling you to eat cleaner, but we’re telling you to not overdo it. Generally, a lot of fast food and take out is eaten by college students, which means a lot of napkins get grabbed on the way out. Limit the amount you grab!

5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs

This is a good bit of advice for those college students who are paying their own electric bills. These bulbs might be slightly more expensive than regular ones, but will decrease your energy intake, last longer and ultimately save you money. These are good for dorms as well. Lamp light is a lot more pleasant and environmentally efficient than overhead dorm lighting.

6. Walk, bike, and limit the use of your car

Most campuses, especially those that are trying to become a more eco friendly campus, have pretty good public transit. On top of that, almost all universities are pedestrian friendly. Walking or biking will not only help make your campus a green university, but will help you avoid the freshman (or sophomore, or junior) 15.

7. Buy green

Buy recycled goods as much as possible. Paper, cleaning products and water are products that can be purchased as a recycled good. They’re slightly more expensive than the normal products, but it’s worth it to make a green campus.

8. Use refillable binders instead of notebooks

This is a simple way to save waste. Whenever the semester is done you can take out your notes, staple and save, then use the binder for the next semester. If you really want to take an extra step to make your campus greener, use your laptop to take notes at class.

9. Carry a water bottle

Not only will this save the environment by decreasing the amount of plastic waste on your campus, but will also help keep you hydrated and your metabolism high. A water bottle can be refilled at any water fountain and can easily be drank in class or while riding a bike.

10. Buy used clothing

Usually thought of as something to do to save money, it is also good for the environment! Recycling clothes minimizes the use of resources to make clothing and puts a dent in the problem of worldwide sweatshops.

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