When done smartly, “going green” can also mean saving time, money, and personal energy. Given this relief on both the wallet and the daily schedule, it’s no wonder why college students are one of the leading groups in the eco-friendly movement. With this week being dubbed “earth week” on campuses across America – Earth Day being this past Monday and Arbor Day today – here’s some acknowledgement for the many ways students are pushing the cause, for both their own benefit and mother earth’s, and how you can follow suit.
Recycling and reusing
Cans, textbooks, furniture, whatever. Students are eager to save money by recycling anything and everything they can these days, and they’re doing it better than anyone else is. Even clothing; as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have made abundantly clear, just 20 dollars in your pocket can be plenty when it comes to shopping as long as you just search for the right stores.
One word: eBooks. The tablet revolution has spawned an electronic counterpart for almost every book and is creating less waste and more efficient learning. And when old-schoolers bring up the “feel” of a book, which many call a priceless feature, students’ reply is that the lightened backpack loads and ability to “Control-F,” or perform a search on an entire textbook for exactly the term they need, makes the modernization well worth it.
These days, you’ll see students using as many alternative kinds of transportation to get to and from class as you do brands of cars – bikes, scooters, even the occasional unicycle. Seriously. While you don’t need to take up any extreme sports to be green, you can follow their lead by trying the bus, carpooling, or walking to more destinations.
Also, when driving back home or somewhere further to visit family, check in with those you know from that area to see if they might need a ride or if you can ride with them; everyone likes paying less for gas.
Let’s be honest, you knew you’d have to let go of plastic water bottles eventually in favor of a reusable one. If you haven’t converted already, get one today. Chances are you’ll end up drinking more water throughout the day and feeling better about the way you’re doing it.
It’s not the most obvious one, but cooking and preparing meals yourself is one of the most sustainable things you can do. More and more, students can be found bringing a meal to school or work rather than choosing to buy less fresh and less affordable meals elsewhere. They’re locating their campus’ microwaves, discovering the glories of Tupperware, and leading the charge for sustainable lunches. For bonus points, get your groceries locally as much as possible from farmer’s markets or locally based store.
How are you celebrating Arbor Day? Let us know on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.