“50 Common Eco-Crimes Committed By College Students”

Here’s a reminder to college students out there.

(Article reprinted with permission. Original article can be found here.)

50 Common Eco-Crimes Committed By College Students

Most people try to be mindful of the environment, students included, but it’s not always easy to remember that almost every action we take has the potential to damage the world. College students especially have many opportunities to change their ways for the better, but for one reason or another, still continue to commit eco-crimes against nature. Read on to learn about 50 crimes you may be committing, and what you can do about it.

  1. Boiling unnecessary water: Overfilling your teakettle or boiling without a lid wastes energy and takes more time to get going.
  2. Buying new books: Instead of buying new books, it’s more eco-friendly to buy used ones, or even rent or check out books from the library instead.
  3. Throwing away pens: Cheap bulk bag pens are convenient, but wasteful. Get a refillable pen instead, and throw away just a small refill rather than an entire pen.
  4. Wasting paper: Unlimited printing at the library doesn’t mean you should go crazy — print only what you absolutely need to have on paper.
  5. Forgetting to turn off the tap: Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes.
  6. Recycle the way they say: Recycling doesn’t work if you don’t do it right. Remove caps, put the right item in the right bin so it can be processed correctly.
  7. Wash full loads: Load the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads instead of half or less.
  8. Writing inside the margins: You’ve probably been taught to stay neatly within the margins of your paper, but that is a wasteful practice when you’re just taking notes. Write all the way to the edge, and you may be surprised how much you can fit on each page.
  9. Dumping unwanted items: When the semester’s over and students move on, students often leave behind items that they don’t really want to take with them.
  10. Leaving your TV on in an empty room: If you’re not watching your TV or listening to the radio, turn them off.
  11. Buying more dorm stuff than necessary: Chances are, you’ll have a roommate in the dorms, and that roommate will be bringing lots of stuff with them. Instead of buying and loading up lots of your own stuff, check with your roommate to see if you can split items.
  12. Disposing electronic waste improperly: When you’re done with your laptop or cell phone, donate it or drop it in a recycling box designated for electronic waste.
  13. Forgetting to recycle: College campuses often have excellent recycling and even composting programs, but college students don’t always take advantage of them. Pay attention to what’s available, and use it.
  14. Forgetting what you have already: Remember to take inventory to avoid duplicates when you’re headed off to college.
  15. Unnecessary driving: College campuses are usually pedestrian friendly, so walk, bike, and avoid using your car unless you need to.
  16. Idling your car: Leaving the motor running when parked waiting for a friend wastes gas. It’s better to shut it off if you’ll be sitting for 10 seconds or longer.
  17. Buying notebooks: If you don’t fill your notebook each semester, you’re wasting paper. Use a refillable binder, or even a laptop instead.
  18. Buying bottled water: Buy a refillable bottle and wash it instead of buying disposable bottles.
  19. Buying cheap supplies: Buying a new backpack is wasteful — just buy a great one to start with, and you won’t have to get a new one later.
  20. Using incandescent light bulbs: If you’re renting or living in a dorm, you’re probably just going to use the bulbs provided, but switching them out for compact fluorescent light bulbs can save energy.
  21. Shipping your stuff everywhere: Instead of shipping your stuff back and forth, look into local storage options.
  22. Using disposables: It’s easy to clean up disposable plates and cups, but they’re terrible for the environment. Stick to inexpensive plates you can wash instead.
  23. Drinking bottled beer: Beer on tap doesn’t create nearly as much waste as bottled beer.
  24. Buying brand new supplies: Save your supplies from semester to semester and avoid having to buy them over again.
  25. Buying highly packaged food: Instead of buying processed foods, get fresh items that come with less packaging.
  26. Cooking with inefficient appliances: Instead of using outdated appliances, use efficient ones like microwaves and toaster ovens.
  27. Using the dryer: Invest in a clothes drying rack to hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer.
  28. Replacing instead of upgrading: Before buying a new item, find out if you can upgrade first.
  29. Using wasteful beauty products: Look for natural and organic personal care brands to make sure your clean is really clean.
  30. Sleeping with the TV on: Set a timer for your TV to turn off once you’re asleep so it’s not on all night.
  31. Reading the school newspaper: Find out if your school’s newspaper offers an online edition instead of picking up a paper copy.
  32. Working out in the gym: Gym equipment like treadmills put out lots of carbon emissions. Save the earth while you work out by doing it outside.
  33. Don’t take more than you’ll eat: Be careful not to overly fill your plate at the cafeteria — just take what you need.
  34. Leaving your air conditioner on: College students spend lots of time out of their dorms and apartments but may not remember to program their thermostat to go down when they’re not at home.
  35. Printing on one side: There’s no excuse for printing on just one side — learn how to do double-sided printing.
  36. Leaving electronics on: Leaving on your laptop, TV, and other electronics can drain energy without you noticing it-plug your electronics into powerstrips and turn them all off at once.
  37. Eating mini packs: Pack your lunch in reusable bags instead of mini packs of chips and other items.
  38. Using paper napkins: If you’re eating fast food, chances are you’ve gotten napkins. Limit your use — you probably just need one.
  39. Spring breaking: Instead of flying to a far-flung destination, take an eco-friendly spring break trip.
  40. Forgetting to bring reusable shopping bags: Reusable bags are easy — if you actually remember to bring them to the store. Use keychain bags or ones that fold up to fit in your backpack so you won’t forget.
  41. Waiting for the hot water: Let the cool water fill up a bucket to use on your plants and other items while you’re waiting for the hot water to come in.
  42. Eating takeout: Take out is often in wasteful packaging-find restaurants that use less packaging, or just make food for yourself at home.
  43. Throwing away old clothes: Updating your wardrobe doesn’t have to mean being wasteful — donate your old clothes to a charity a homeless shelter.
  44. Letting lint build up: Whether you’re using community dryers or your own at home, always remember to clean the lint filter for a more efficient dryer.
  45. Using unnecessary kitchen items: Tin foil, plastic wrap, disposable cleaning cloths, and more can be switched for reusable items.
  46. Buying new clothing: Buy used clothing, or swap with friends to save resources and money.
  47. Paper statements: Switch to paperless billing for your bank, credit cards, utilities, and more.
  48. Driving alone: On a college campus, you should be able to find someone to share rides with — rideshare home to visit family and friends, or just go to the store together.
  49. Leaving lights on: It doesn’t have to be day-bright in your room all of the time. Dim your lights or turn them off completely unless you really need them.
  50. Throwing away paper: Students deal with lots of paper, and it’s important to dispose of it correctly. Remember to recycle instead of throwing away paper.

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