Picture this: you’re a college student eager to make a difference in the world, and you’ve heard a lot about sustainability.
But what does it really mean? In a nutshell, sustainability is about meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
As college students, you hold the power to shape the future, and that’s why it’s crucial to incorporate sustainable practices into your daily life.
In this blog post, we’ll explore a variety of sustainable activities you can easily adopt as a college student, and how these simple changes can benefit both you and the planet.
Sustainable Activities for College Students
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Turning off lights and electronics: When not in use, always turn off your lights, electronics, and appliances. This simple habit conserves energy and can lead to substantial savings on your electricity bill.
Scientific Fact: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning off lights when not needed can reduce electricity consumption by up to 10%-40%.
Using energy-efficient light bulbs: Replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives such as LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) or CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) can dramatically lower your energy usage.
Scientific Fact: The U.S. Department of Energy states that LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
Unplugging chargers and appliances when not in use: Even when switched off, many chargers and appliances continue to draw power. This is referred to as standby power or “vampire power.”
Scientific Fact: The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that standby power can account for 10% of an average household’s annual electricity use.
Taking shorter showers: Shortening your shower time is a straightforward way to conserve water and reduce your water bill.
Scientific Fact: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 10-minute shower can use up to 20 gallons of water.
Turning off the water while brushing teeth: This simple act can save up to 200 gallons of water per month for a family of four.
Fixing leaky faucets: Even a minor leak can waste a significant amount of water over time.
Scientific Fact: The U.S. Geological Survey’s drip calculator shows that one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year.
Using reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and shopping bags: Using reusable items reduces plastic waste and saves money in the long run.
Scientific Fact: According to the Earth Day Network, Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.
Avoiding single-use plastics: Opt for reusable or biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, and food packaging.
Recycling and composting: Recycling materials and composting organic waste reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills and conserves natural resources.
Scientific Fact: EPA states that recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
Biking, walking, or taking public transportation instead of driving: These transportation modes emit less carbon dioxide compared to driving a car alone.
Scientific Fact: According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation in the U.S. saves approximately 37 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
Carpooling with friends: Sharing rides reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions while saving money on gas.
Scientific Fact: The U.S. Department of Transportation states that carpooling with one other person can cut your commuting costs in half.
Investing in an electric or hybrid car: If a car is necessary, consider an electric or hybrid vehicle to lower your environmental impact.
Scientific Fact: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
Sustainable Diet and Shopping
Eating a plant-based diet: A plant-based diet is less resource-intensive and has a lower environmental impact compared to a meat-based diet. – Scientific Fact: According to a study published in Science, moving from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.
Buying local and organic produce: Purchasing local produce supports local farmers and reduces the environmental impact of long-distance food transportation.
Scientific Fact: The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture found that conventionally sourced food travels on average 1,500 miles from farm to consumer, compared to 44.6 miles for locally sourced food.
Reducing food waste: Planning meals, storing leftovers properly, and avoiding overbuying can minimize food waste.
Scientific Fact: The United Nations reports that globally, 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.
Sustainable Clothing Practices
Buying second-hand clothes: Purchasing used clothing reduces the demand for new clothing production and conserves resources.
Scientific Fact: According to the World Wildlife Fund, it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce one cotton shirt. That’s enough for one person to drink for 2.5 years.
Supporting sustainable and ethical fashion brands: Choose to support brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices and fair treatment of workers.
Donating or recycling clothes: Instead of discarding unwanted clothes, donate them to charity or recycle them to minimize textile waste. You can go to Goodwill or Salvation Army for clothing donations.
Scientific Fact: The EPA estimates that the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year.
By following these simple steps you can get these impressive results by doing your part to help cut down on your carbon footprint, reduce waste and live a healthier life.
Benefits of Sustainable Activities for College Students
Adopting sustainable practices can result in financial savings, a positive impact on the environment, and a healthier planet for future generations. Moreover, embracing sustainability can lead to personal satisfaction and mental well-being, knowing that your actions contribute to a healthier planet.
Challenges and Solutions
- Lack of awareness and education: Many students may not understand the importance of sustainability or know how to practice it. Education and awareness campaigns can help bridge this knowledge gap.
- Limited resources and options: Some students may have limited access to sustainable options or resources, depending on their campus and location. Universities can help by providing more sustainable options and resources.
- Time constraints and busy schedules: College students often have packed schedules, which can make it challenging to prioritize sustainable practices. However, incorporating small changes into daily routines can make a significant difference over time.
Initiatives for Sustainability in Campus
- Creating a sustainability club or organization: This can help spread awareness, share resources, and encourage sustainable practices among students.
- Hosting sustainable events and activities: Universities can organize events that promote sustainability, such as eco-friendly workshops, environmental film screenings, or tree planting activities.
- Partnering with local sustainable businesses: This collaboration can provide students with eco-friendly products and services, further promoting sustainability.
- Providing incentives for sustainable practices: Universities could offer rewards or recognition to students who consistently demonstrate sustainable behaviors, such as using reusable containers or participating in recycling programs.
Embracing sustainability as a college student doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming if you have younger siblings or a parent wanting to teach your child about sustainable and fun activities then check out this sustainable guide for toddlers.
By incorporating the sustainable activities discussed in this blog post, you can make a positive impact on the environment, save money, and contribute to a better future. It’s time for you to take action and make a difference.
Start today! and share this post with a friend give them some actionable ideas.
What are examples of sustainable activities?
Examples of sustainable activities include conserving energy, reducing water consumption, minimizing waste, using sustainable transportation, eating a plant-based diet, and supporting ethical fashion brands.
How do you engage students in sustainability?
Engage students in sustainability through education, awareness campaigns, creating clubs or organizations dedicated to sustainability, hosting eco-friendly events, and providing incentives for sustainable practices.
How do you promote sustainability in the classroom?
Promote sustainability in the classroom by integrating sustainability concepts into the curriculum, utilizing digital resources to reduce paper waste, encouraging students to practice eco-friendly behaviors, and collaborating on sustainability projects.