5 Green Products Every College Student Should Own
Products you can easily add to your daily routine that add up big time.
It can be kind of hit or miss when it comes to stocking up before moving in, especially in such a strange year as this. Now more than ever it’s almost impossible for incoming freshmen to know exactly what they’re going to need, and for probably the first time, the older students are in the same boat. There’s always the giant Walmart run a few days in when you realize how many things you need but didn’t bring. It may seem like living sustainably can be a major inconvenience, once you’ve read this list you’ll see how easy it really is. This list isn’t going to help with all the little things, however these are the 5 green products I recommend every college student brings with them.
This one may seem pretty simple and that’s honestly because it is. Using some sort of sustainable transport like a bike, scooter or skateboard is a great way to shrink your carbon footprint. In Fall of 2019 there were almost 20 million college students in the US, if the majority of on campus students, especially those in cities, started using sustainable transport, we could save 6 to 14 million tons of C02 every year. We would also save 700 million to 1.6 billion gallons of fuel. Add in the health benefits and the savings on gas and the argument for sustainable transport is incredibly strong.
LED Light Bulbs
Again this is fairly self explanatory, however it has a huge impact on energy usage. With traditional incandescent bulbs 90% of energy is lost in heat, and only 10% goes to actually producing light. LED bulbs used to be significantly more expensive than incandescent bulbs, however with the rapid expansion of the market they can now be found for $2 a bulb or less. The energy savings are huge and the cost savings are no joke either, while a traditional incandescent bulb lasts about a year, an LED can last 15-20 years, meaning you won’t have to get new bulbs the entire time you’re in school and for a long time after. There’s no real reason not to go with LED bulbs at this point, make the right move and switch over.
Reusable Shopping Bags
This one is a little more difficult right now. Many stores are prohibiting the use of reusable bags right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so check before showing up for that emergency Walmart run with a handful of reusable bags. The average person only uses throw away plastic bags for 13 minutes before throwing it away, that level of waste means 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are being thrown away every year. I don’t need to explain to you how bad that is, and if you don’t get that, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.
Luckily this is a trend that is already prevalent on college campuses, walk around any American college campus and you’ll see Nalgene, Swel, and Yeti drink containers everywhere. The US is lucky in that the vast majority of the country has safe drinking water that is readily accessible. You've probably been hearing the argument for reusable water bottles for most of your life, and there's a reason for that, in 2016 the US used 4 billion pounds of plastic for water bottle production. It's easy to start using a refillable bottle, most college dorms have water fountains and the cool water bottle refill stations that count how many bottles of water they have saved. And if you’re living off campus in an apartment and you don’t like the idea of drinking tap water all the time, Brita filters and pitchers are readily available at your local Walmart.
Back to the basics on this one, beer is a staple of college campuses in the United States and all over the rest of the world. If you read my last blog you know that there are breweries out there that are taking steps to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Luckily one of the largest and most well known breweries in the world is taking those steps as well. Many college students drink more Bud Light than water during their undergrad years, and as long as you mix in a water every once in a while and recycle the cans once you’ve slept off the hangover then you may be doing more good than you think! Anheuser-Busch is making great headway in reducing their carbon footprint, to learn more about it and a few other breweries, check out my Sustainabeers blog from last week.
College students are facing a year unlike any we’ve seen before, balancing safety with learning and socialising. The last thing most college students need is added stress from trying to live sustainably. As you can see these few changes aren’t life altering and are easy to work into your every day routine. Take the small amount of time to switch over to sustainable products a little at a time and the impact will add up quickly.