Soon after you move onto your college campus, it becomes your new home. Your campus is your surrounding environment for about 9 months of the year so it's important to take care of it and keep it clean.

There are many things that you can do to be green on campus and make an impact, but sometimes it's hard not knowing where to start. But, trust me, there are ways to make a sustainable impact on any college campus.  Here are some tips that pertain to Penn State specifically but feel free to take them to whoever you study!

1. Take Advantage of Green2Go Takeout Boxes

Caitlin Wolper

Recently entering the recycling game at Penn State is the Green2Go boxes. These boxes are takeout containers that are made of hard, green plastic so that you can reuse them when you go to the dining halls. As someone who took my dinner to-go 4 out of 7 days a week, I can attest that these are the best!

How does it work? You pay a simple fee of $5 to get access to a container, and then it's yours for the year! You bring the container to the dining hall when you want to get your meal to-go, then bring back the container the next day and you'll get a brand-new, clean one.

These boxes can be found in any on-campus dining hall. Just a simple $5 contribution can make the world's difference and significantly decrease your amount of waste. Plus, the boxes also insulate your food much better than a Styrofoam container.

By using Green2Go boxes all year, I probably saved a little over 100 of those white, Styrofoam takeout boxes. This is a great way to start making a "green" impact and reducing your personal waste. Highly recommended!

2. Use a Refillable Water Bottle

water bottle, Health, fitness
Carolyne Su

If you’re not already doing this, you’ve gotta step up your game. Reusable water bottles are the MOVE. Not only are they “green” because they are refillable, but they are also super easy to manage and use. These types of water bottles last a long time, they're practically indestructible! 

Now that Penn State is becoming (kinda) high-tech, there are bottle-filling water fountains all over campus specifically for refilling water bottles. You’ve probably seen them in the Hub, gyms, classrooms, or other places on campus.

The cool thing about these fountains is that they have a counter on them that counts how many plastic water bottles you’ve saved by using a refillable water bottle instead. Some of the stations in more popular spots like the IM building or the HUB have crazy-high numbers that are in the hundred thousands!

Just think about how many plastic water bottles you’re preventing from ending up in a landfill just by simply re-filling your Nalgene or Yeti. Plus, you don’t have that gross plastic taste in your water that comes from refilling a plastic water bottle one too many times. 

Another perk of refillable water bottles is that they stay cold for a long time. You can add ice to them and they will remain chilled for hours, especially if it is made of metal. There's nothing better than ice-cold water while you're working out or walking around campus.

Bonus: There are bottle-filling stations in places like the Hub and Business Building that have sparkling and distilled water at your dispense. You can get flavors like peach, lime, mint, and more. You just choose your flavored water and if you want it sparkling or not, then place your bottle under to be filled, and enjoy! It's not only boujee, but also good for the environment. It doesn't get much better than that!

Bottle Hack: You can customize your water bottle by decorating it or adding stickers. Much more fun than a plain old Poland Spring plastic bottle

3. Obey the Recycling Bins in Your Dorm

Recycle bins

vastateparksstaff on Flickr

RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE! It's that simple and one of the easiest things you can do to help your environment. Taking the time to separate your trash rather than throwing it all into landfill makes a huge difference.

Most dorms at Penn State have tons of different recycling bins on each floor of the building. There's bins for paper, plastic, cardboard, metal, and more. 

If your not sure what goes where, each bin has a sign of what type of material goes in the bin and even gives examples of what can go in there. For example, you might see a bin that says "Plastic" and then a description and pictures of grocery bags, silverware, or other types of that plastic that belong.

Yes, there is a regular trash bin for landfill, but you should try to avoid just throwing everything in there. If you can sort your trash and take the time to recycle, you are doing the planet a big favor.

If you don't feel like constantly making trips down the hall, then you can invest in a small "recycle bin" to keep in your room until you're ready to make the trip down the hall. 

It's so simple, yet extremely effective when you follow through. It may seem tiring at times to constantly be making trips to recycle, but the greater impact is worth the walk. 

4. Keep a Water Filter in Your Dorm

Let's be honest, Penn State dorm water isn't exactly the tastiest. Especially if you are in an older building with regular fountains, the water that comes from them may seem questionable.

It can be hard when your in your dorm and that's the only source of water that you have access to and we all know you don't want to drink that. Usually you then have to resort to plastic water bottles.

The solution to this problem is keeping a water filtration device in your dorm. Britas and other filtered water systems are great to keep in the dorm. They're easy to use and they clean that questionable fountain water so that it doesn't taste like metal and death. 

You can use a filtered gallon or jug, like a Brita, or if you want to go smaller, simply a filtered water bottle. You can keep them in the fridge so that you have access to nice, cold water at all times, and get tons of uses out of them.

You can fill up the filtering systems with the water from the dorm fountains, except now you can be assured that its clean. No more wondering what's in the water or if it'll make you sick. Now you can enjoy clean, cold water in your dorm

5. Bring Reusable Bags to the Market 

supermarket, Grocery, Market, Trader Joe's, checkout, shopping, Shopping bag
Caroline Ingalls

On-campus markets.... the place where you buy everything and spend all of your meal points. The market is a DANGEROUS place. You go there any time of day for snacks, supplies, medicine, etc. and drain any funds that you have on your meal plan.

Daily trips to the market are a common occurrence for almost every student. They're convenient and save you the trip downtown. Most times you only buy a few items that you can carry but, sometimes you need to go on a little shopping spree. 

When the time comes for a shopping spree and you are practically clearing the shelves, the only way to get your stock back to your room is via plastic grocery bags. Just think, one to two plastics bags per trip, a few times a week, for a whole two semesters. That's a lot of plastic waste. 

Next time you go to your residence area's market, bring along some reusable shopping bags to reduce the use of plastic. Now the markets themselves are selling reusable grocery bags for a small cost. 

If you're going to be spending time and money constantly at the market, might as well try to help the environment while you're at it. 

Just think of the large impact on the environment you can be making by making as little as four changes to your daily life. Saving the environment has to start somewhere and that somewhere could be your college campus.