10 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Student
Meaghan Weeden | September 6, 2022 | 5 min read
TIPS TO LOWER YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT IN COLLEGE
Going to college is a formative experience that can help you learn about the world, and find your place within it. But traveling to attend a school on the other side of the country (or world) doesn't need to stop you from reducing your carbon footprint. In fact, your college years are a great time to develop sustainable living habits that will help you be a lifelong friend of the planet. And by taking steps to lower your carbon footprint, you might just inspire your classmates to follow your example!
In addition to your coursework, an important part of college life is being exposed to (and sharing!) new ideas, attitudes and perspectives that you may not have previously been aware of. In this sense, it's more than just a place to learn: attending college or university is also a place to grow. If you're interested in sustainability and the environment, we encourage you to take advantage of any clubs, associations, or organizations on campus. One great way to get involved is by joining our network of Tree Ambassadors that hail from all around the world. You'll have opportunities to connect, make friends, organize fundraisers together and share your experiences with other nature lovers.
Ready to make an impact? Keep reading for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint while at college.
how to reduce carbon footprint as a student
1. WALK OR USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
If possible, leave your car at home and walk (or bike!) to your classes instead. Walking not only helps to reduce your carbon footprint, but is a great way to improve your health and engage with your new community.
2. Get a big, cozy rug
If your apartment or dorm room floor is cold, you're more likely to feel cold and dial up your thermostat. To avoid this, put a nice, warm rug on the floor — it'll insulate your living space and help to keep your feet warm.
3. Wrap Yourself Up in a Warm Comforter
Keep the cold at bay with a nice, warm (and eco-friendly) comforter! You'll be able to keep the thermostat lower — and you might just sleep better, too! Bonus: studies show that a cold room combined with a warm blanket lead to better sleep!
4. Switch to a Laptop
Did you know laptops use up to 90% less energy than desktop computers? If you've been using a desktop computer to write your papers and do research, consider making the switch. With a little research, you can find an inexpensive one that's more than adequate for your needs.
5. Reduce Waste by Avoiding Disposables
Instead of buying plastic water bottles or plastic water jugs, buy one good thermos and refill it with water, tea, or your favorite soup from the dining hall. If possible, also bring reusable utensils in your bag so you won't have to use the disposable cutlery and straws provided at the dining hall. If you're ready for more, check out our tips on zero-waste living.
6. REDUCE DAIRY AND MEAT INTAKE
Dairy farms and cows are high-impact on the environment. Try reducing your meat and dairy intake a little bit at a time. And when you do consume dairy, make sure it's local and chemical-free. This simple switch is a major step towards having a sustainable diet— and you just might find that you feel better, too!
7. Purchase Sparingly
Do you really need that new bulletin board? How about that hat? When you're tempted to make a purchase, think carefully: will the item really add to your life, or will it just take up more space? For more inspiration, check out our tips on sustainable living for ways to live a more sustainable life.
8. Forget Fast Fashion
We get it, you want to stay on trend and within your budget. But fast fashion comes at a high cost for the planet, including significant waste, heavy pesticide use, and a high shipping footprint. A much better option is to buy from sustainable brands or hit your local thrift store for quality, gently-used pieces that will help you look good and make a statement!
9. Give Vegetables a Chance
Reducing your meat consumption is a simple and impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint. And what better place to do it than a college campus, where you have access to a variety of flavors from all around the world, every day? Try eating a few vegetarian meals a week to figure what you do and don't like.
10. PLANT A TREE!
Planting trees is a great way to connect with the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. In celebration of Earth Day and Plant a Tree Day (as well as other times throughout the year), One Tree Planted offers tree planting events around the world. So be sure to check our community events page periodically so you have the opportunity to attend an event near you!
By trying one or more of these tips, you'll reduce your carbon footprint even while you're in college. And by developing these habits when you're young, you'll be a lifelong steward of your local environmen.
Want to do more? Consider becoming a Tree Ambassador with us or planting a tree today!