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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

arts student life

COLUMN: Tips for being a sustainable student when returning to campus


A new school year presents the perfect opportunity to pick up new ecofriendly habits. The independent lifestyle at college gives each of us the space to decide how much energy we want to invest in reducing our own impact on Earth. Becoming more sustainable doesn’t have to include any life-altering changes, but taking small steps can be a good way to start. 

Swap some tops with a friend  

It’s easy to convince yourself that you need to purchase a new top for an upcoming event. While sometimes investing in a new outfit is necessary, there’s likely someone willing to lend you something from their own closet, and maybe you have a piece they’ve been wanting to wear. Sharing clothes with a friend not only reduces overconsumption of clothing, but it can be fun to closet shop and put pieces together. This can not only save you money, but it makes buying a new article of clothing more exciting when the time comes.  

Use a digital camera in place of disposable cameras 

The past few years have seen the resurgence of disposable cameras that require physical film to get developed. While some of these types of cameras can be taken to places that specialize in camera recycling, a lot of them can still end up in landfills. A solid alternative to the disposable camera would be investing in a digital camera, which could likely be bought second-hand rather than brand new. Digital cameras don’t require the film development process and can be used repeatedly.  

Keep some reusable jars on hand  

Mason jars aren’t just for pickling vegetables and storing jam; they can be used for saving leftovers, potting plants, drinking coffee and other versatile uses. Not only that, but they are easy to wash and relatively inexpensive. If you’re buying any type of product in a jar, such as spaghetti sauce, these jars can easily be repurposed in this way. There are countless ideas about sustainable uses for recycled jars worth checking out online.  

Look into local recycling options  

Recycling policies differ depending on where you live and Bloomington has resources available to figure out how these rules affect residents. Depending on your living situation, recycling can be readily available or harder to incorporate into your day-to-day. For communal living situations, it can sometimes be more difficult to access recycling, but there are ways to start small.  

If you receive a lot of packages, you can break down the boxes and take them to a recycling center to prevent throwing these items away. Small habits can add up if more students take the time to integrate them. 

Invest in a reliable water bottle and coffee cup 

While the buzz around reusable water bottles may seem like an obvious sustainable step, the efficacy of reusable coffee cups is often overlooked. Most places will make your coffee order in the cup you provide and this can cut down your personal plastic consumption significantly.  

Be mindful about trend consumption  

On a college campus, it can be easy to be persuaded into buying trendy items, whether it be beauty products or a new style you’ve been seeing people wear. You ultimately have the buying power for these things, but it is important to ask yourself what your intentions are before buying products. Ask yourself if you will still be using this product in a month or two or if you already have something that serves the same purpose. Thinking about your purchases beforehand can make overconsumption easier to avoid.  

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