Drop the Disposable

Refillable water bottles are awesome for two reasons. The first reason is you don’t have to waste your beer money by buying cases of water. The second reason is they help the environment by keeping water bottles out of landfills. Most hippies will tell you that the stainless steel canteens are the way to go but they can be kind of expensive. The CamelBak and Nalgene both make water bottles in various sizes and colors.

Going along with the idea of water bottles, refillable coffee mugs are pretty sweet too. They are helpful at keeping costs down even if you don’t brew your own joe. Coffee shops (mostly the ones that are chains) will offer a discount for refills. For instance, Einstein’s gives refills for one dollar if you buy their mug that came with a coffee, for two fifty.

The downside the non-disposable model is that you have to wash the bottles and mugs semi consistently. This makes it harder for us lazy ones (guilty as charged) but we should at least try, right?

Have a Plant

You can have a plant in your dorm or apartment on the cheap, most definitely. Just take that two liter of coke you used to mix your drinks last night and cut it in half. Not only can you use the bottom for a planter, but you can also use the top for filter.

Now, all you have to purchase is a little bit of topsoil and some seeds. I suggest buying mint. Mint smells nice and after you wash it pop it in your mouth and then you won’t have to buy the orbit anymore. Personification also helps to keep it in your mind thus helping keep it alive.

Walk and/or Bike

The latter three words, walk, run and bike are extremely healthy ways to get around. Not just because they are healthy for you, but also because they are healthy for the environment. So, why not walk to class instead of taking the bus or driving. If it is too far to walk, ride a bike.  If you don’t have a bike, start a bike share at your school.

Controlling Your Inner Techie

It’s hard to remember something as simple as turning you computer off at night. If you just turn off your computer you’ll be saving an extremely large amount of energy. Also, if you phone can make it through the night without dying, don’t charge it. It has a battery for a reason! Hey maybe if everyone turned their computer off at night and charged their phones less universities would lower tuition a little. I like to dream.

Finally, here’s a carbon footprint calculator. Try it out, you might be surprised how much energy you use.

How do you stay green at college? Comment below or email me at mike [at] hackcollege [dot] com.