Schools Training

4 Ways to Go Green on a Student Budget

14 NOV 2013

going green

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As a college student you most likely have limited access funds. However, environmental concerns are a primary worry. So how do you go green on a budget in this era where obtaining fresh healthy food costs more than heavily processed food and buying sustainably produced clothing costs a small fortune? Just because you’re are a student and are on a budget doesn’t mean that your habits can’t match your ideals. There are many ways to maximize your income, so that it will match your environmental concerns. It will just take more careful planning.  Here are a few tips to attain your goal of living an environmentally efficient lifestyle with minimal additional costs.

1. Ride Share

Sharing gas or taking public transit is a great way to get around the city. If you are living in the same region as your family and will be visiting during the holidays or even on the weekends, sharing a ride is a great way to save money and lower your carbon footprint. Some schools even have a school directory of people looking for or offering rides. And an even more green way of commuting is to ride your bike or walk. You’ll get exercise as well as save on the monthly expense of a bus pass.

2. Re-Use

As a student, re-using items is a wonderful way to save money. Some examples include buying used textbooks, rather than brand new, as well as selling your text book when you’re done with it. It may take some discipline not to highlight or write in your textbook as you go, but in the long run can save you money and will minimize paper waste.

Also, buying your clothing vintage or organizing a clothing swap with friends is another terrific way to re-use. You can get new clothes for minimal or no-cost and not have to purchase brand new items. You’ll save and add new (to you) clothing to your wardrobe.

3. Bring a mug (or water bottle!)

If you drink coffee or tea, bringing a mug with you will save trees. Consider this; if you buy your coffee daily, multiply the amount of paper cups used daily by a year, saving that amount a waste alone as a single person will make an enormous difference on the planet. The same goes for bottled water. Making a small investment in a re-usable water bottle will go a long way in reducing the amount of plastic bottles that end up in landfills.

4. Buy Local

Many schools have eco-cooperatives where you can buy fresh locally grown organic food at a cheaper price than you would in a big-name grocery store. Visit your campus PIRG or search online through your school news  to learn what is available at your school. The savings that you will gain will make a major difference on your grocery budget. And if your school doesn’t run a food co-op, you can also share an organic food basket with roommates. By sharing the costs you can obtain a seasonal basket of fresh organic food without the massive price tag.

These are just a small sampling of ways to start living an environmentally conscious lifestyle. For more ideas, check out educational articles or volunteer with an eco-friendly non-profit to learn more.