Elizabeth is a student at Cornell University studying Communication in…
I’m sure it’s been drilled into your head by now that humans are ruining the environment…well, some more than others. To prevent this situation from getting worse, we can all take steps to live sustainably, even while we’re in college. Living sustainably means creating a lifestyle for yourself that reduces your negative impacts on the environment. The great bonus that comes with saving the environment through sustainable living is SAVING MONEY! So here are 5 ways college students can live sustainably AND save money.
1. Use reusable water bottles and mugs.
The process to make plastic water bottles is horrible for the environment. Buying large packs of water bottles every month (or even worse, buying from a vending machine) can total to nearly $100 each semester. Purchase a reusable water bottle, like a Camelbak, for just $15 and refill it every day at fountains on campus or the tap from your apartment/house. Cups sold in cafes also contribute to lots of waste, which is obviously bad for the environment. Many cafes on college campuses have HUGE discounts for customers who bring in their own mugs for their coffee or tea. When I brought my travel mug to a cafe the other day, my tea only cost me $1.25!
2. Unplug and flip the switch!
If you live off-campus, unplugging your electronics when you’re not using them and turning lights off when you’re not in a room can lower your electric bill and reduce your carbon footprint!
3. Ditch the car.
For those of you that own cars, riding a bike or using public transportation can greatly reduce your carbon emissions AND keep more money in your pocket. If you don’t have a car, lucky you (despite what you think)! Think about how much money you’re actually saving by not having to pay for gas, oil changes, repairs, and over-priced campus parking permits.
4. Dry clothes the old fashioned way.
Another energy conservation technique, drying clothes on a clothing line (or just air drying) will lower your electric bills even more. For college students living in dorms, air drying is a good sustainable money-saver since the cost of doing laundry can get pretty high when using facility dryers.
5. Shop at thrift stores.
This can go both ways. If you need a new sweater, but only have $10 in your bank account, head to your nearest thrift store and you will find a quality sweater within your budget. (Thrift stores only accept clean, gently used items, so you’ll definitely get a very nice deal.) On the flip side, you can also make some extra cash by selling your old stuff! I made $56.79 last month by selling clothes and DVDs that I no longer use. How is this sustainable? Thrift stores take in goods that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and a demand for used stuff means less demand for new stuff that requires energy intensive manufacturing.
I believe following these 5 tips (and many more) to live sustainably is truly the best way that college students can save money. They’re very simple to follow without causing drastic changes to your lifestyle and make our planet a little happier.
Featured image source: ivoryella.com
Elizabeth is a student at Cornell University studying Communication in hopes of pursuing Public Relations or Marketing careers. Her hometown is Miami, Florida and she loves her family, classic rock music, park dates, and chocolate.