Are you sending your child off to college this year? You may be worried about his grades and behavior, but what about his eco-friendly lifestyle? Make sure college kids know how to live green when they’re on their own by teaching them these tips:
Skip the car.
If your child lives on or nearby campus, there’s no need to spend money on an expensive parking pass. Instead, teach him to walk or bike to school, and if the weather doesn’t permit, hop on the school shuttle to get to class.
Reuse water bottles.
College campuses tend to have water fountains located in every building, so there’s no excuse to toss out a water bottle instead of reusing it. Teach your child to carry a water bottle with him to class so he can refill it at one of the water fountains and reuse it throughout the day. Back in the dorm room, he can use a water filter to refill his bottle instead of twisting open a brand new water bottle to quench his thirst.
Encourage your child to take notes electronically instead of relying on notebooks. Over the course of a semester, those notebooks will fill up quickly. Plus, your kid will probably toss the notebooks out once the class is over at the end of the semester. This is a wasteful practice, so why not skip buying notebooks altogether and type out notes on a computer instead?
Buying textbooks is both expensive and wasteful, so your college aged child should consider renting his books instead. Renting will cut down on the demand for new textbooks so fewer will be produced overall. Kids may not even realize that this is a greener option than buying new books, so it’s up to you to explain this concept to help them understand.
Don’t use a tray.
If you kid plans on picking up lunch in the campus cafeteria, make sure he knows not to use a tray. Although trays may seem harmless, they are just one more thing that will need to be washed after a meal, thus using more water. Skip the tray and tell kids to just carry their plates to the table to conserve water.
Take an eco-friendly class.
Many college campuses are beginning to understand the importance of a greener lifestyle, so they are now offering sustainability classes to students. Talk to your child’s advisor about whether these are offered on his campus. If so, enroll him right away! Besides the basics, these classes can also teach kids where the local recycling centers are, which restaurants are the most sustainable, and any green initiatives the school has that you may not know about.
Go green in the dorm.
Whether your kid will be living in a dorm or an apartment, there are ways to make his living arrangement greener before you leave him on his own. Make sure all the light bulbs are energy efficient compact florescent bulbs instead of standard models. Buy a power strip to plug all of his electronic devices into, and tell him to turn the power strip off when he leaves for class everyday. Don’t see a recycling bin? Buy one for him and his roommate to use so there are no excuses. With these simple changes, your child will be living in a much greener space.
Go over these tips with your college-bound kid for a successful—and green—first year on campus!