College students are all about up and coming trends, like who the next big singer will be, the next fashion trends and now how to be more green on campus. Many college students still don’t truly understand the sustainability issues college campuses face and think that since they can’t see the issues means that they’re not directly impacting the students.
In reality, every day we produce enough trash that’s equivalent to the weight of the Empire State Building. Simply recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, two oil barrels, 4,100 kilowatts of energy and 60 pounds of air pollution, according to a USA Today report. These are just a few stats that impact society and whether you see it or not, it’s happening and something has to be done to help protect Mother Nature.
So how can college students help out?
Certain cafeterias use lunch trays to carry plates. Trays do make it more convenient for carrying plates, utensils and cups but they do mean more soap and water are needed to clean them and people may load up more food than they can eat. Skip the tray and use average sized plates, making you more selective of your food and less water used for washing. The EPA estimates that more than 34 million tons of food is wasted each year, contributing to landfills and making food waste the largest component in landfills.
Using reusable water bottles is a big way to help. The average reusable water bottle is $20 and can last for years, making it sustainable and a money saver on water! Walking or riding bikes to classes is another way to help prevent CO2 emissions from your car, plus walking and riding your bike is a nice way to exercise before heading to class.
A more fun way to help sustainability issues is by thrifting. Instead of spending $55 on a brand new shirt, you can by quality clothes for around $15 by shopping at thrift stores. “Americans still throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year,” according to earth911.com. That’s a lot of fabric to waste, so thrift stores are a great way to help save clothes and money.
These are just some ways that college students can directly help, but how are college campuses encouraging this behavior?
Ramapo College of New Jersey, located in Mahwah, NJ, has recently been making an effort to help sustainability issues in the area and on the campus. Ramapo College dedicated its staff and students to make environmental issues a bigger priority, described on the college’s website, found here.
On this website, the college describes how they are improving the campus’ recycling program by recycling glass, metals, plastics and paper. The campus has also been reducing the energy consumption on campus by having energy efficient lighting and using alternative fuel vehicles. Not only has the college made steps to improvements but they also have Ramapo Green, which is the environmentally friendly club on campus, and give students the chance to sign a sustainability pledge, found here. Along with this they offer more tips and tricks for students and staff to help sustainability issues on campus, in the community and nationally.
Ramapo College is one of thousands of college campuses that have been going more green, like those listed in The Princeton Review's Green Guide, helping lead the way to solve sustainability issues that society faces.
Ramapo College, Class of 2018
For more information: