Let’s face it, college students aren’t exactly the poster children for going the extra mile. Just because we are lazy by nature doesn’t mean we have to give up all hopes of reducing our environmental footprint.
Sustainable choices are mostly a matter of habit, but most don’t know that simple and easy changes in these habits can make a big difference. Some of these choices can even save you time and CA$H money. Here is a guide to making some less impactful choices for even the biggest slackers.
Don’t toss your drinks.
Coffee is a mainstay of the college life, yet many don’t realize how much waste those disposable coffee cups cause over the course of the school year. It is estimated that over 58 BILLION (yes, billion) disposable cups find their way to landfills each year in the United States alone. Whoa.
While using a plastic water bottle and throwing it out everyday has become an outdated habit for most, the concept of reusing a coffee cup has not quite reached the same level of social normality.
Instead of tossing your coffee cup everyday, try a KeepCup. While any reusable mug or container will reduce your waste, KeepCup goes a step further in ensuring sustainability efforts. The cups have a low embodied energy and are barista standard, meaning they fit with all espresso machines and other coffee shop contraptions. Plus its super minimalist design means you won’t sacrifice style.
Whether you are loyal to your local coffee shop or your coffee machine, KeepCups are simple enough to fit every coffee preference.
Kill the K-Cups.
While we are on the topic of coffee, lets talk about the lazy college students best friend. The Keurig. Almost one in three American households owns a single serving pod coffee machine, and I’m sure the percentage of dorm rooms with these is even higher.
Keurig pods are zero percent recyclable or biodegradable, and produce TONS of waste. The have caused such an environmental uproar that even the creator of Keurig himself regrets inventing this wasteful machine.
Before you go and toss your Keurig in embarrassment of your wasteful ways, check out these reusable pods that allow you to put your own coffee into the machine.
Of course you can always use them into make jello shots too…
If you don’t have a Keurig, opt for manual brewing methods, like French Press, Pour Over or AeroPress.
Drink responsibly with more keg parties.
Who knew being sustainable could be so fun? AMIRIGHT?!
Just because you’re partying, doesn’t mean you have to forget about the environment. Kegs are a great way to reduce waste, as they are returnable, refillable and recyclable. Although all those beer cans may make it to the recycling bin, it still takes A LOT of energy to make each can and subsequently recycle it.
Kegs on the other hand have a service life over over 30 years. That’s an average of about 27,000 cups of beer served over its lifetime.
If you are drinking beer, buy local! Transportation has the largest environmental impact in beer’s life-cycle, so cutting down its travel distance reduces a lot of greenhouse gas consumption. There are currently over 3,000 craft breweries in the United States, so there’s bound to be some nearby to check out.
So have more parties, and return those kegs!
…and drink more Franzia
According to Treehugger, boxed wine is the way to go. Its packaged has less embodied energy and it lighter than the glass bottle counterpart, reducing the impact of shipping. If you aren’t a fan of Sunset Blush, there is an emerging market of high quality varieties that opt out of bottling.
As always, recycle the box and keep slapping the bag.
Skip the burger.
Even the most devoted carnivores should take minute to think about just how much energy and water goes into producing just one cheeseburger. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Thats more than all types of transportation combined. Crazy.
Just 1 pound of beef uses enough water for you to shower for 2 YEARS. So even just skipping out on a few days or meals a week can make a difference. When you do eat animal products look for labels like “pasture raised,” “organic,” “grass fed,” and “human certification.”
You can even try adopting a “Flexitarian” diet. A term largely pioneered by food writer Mark Bittman, Flexitarian is a mostly plant based diet that allows the inclusion of animal products occasionally. Not only is cutting down on meat consumption better for the environment, it can be a lot healthier if done right.
Remember these tips even in your laziest moments, it’ll pay off.
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