Students are known for their hectic schedules as they battle work, class, and life. This juggling act often makes them believe that taking on a sustainable lifestyle is just too much effort or is too expensive. But CleanRiver is here to show you that going green is easy! Keep reading for 6 ways you can become an environmentally conscious student this school year:

1. Join a Green Teamgreen team, communications, involvement, better for the planet

Joining school clubs is one of the best ways to connect with others and meet lots of new people, while also making a positive difference. Join your school’s Green Team or Environmental Club to help run different activities and events on campus; such as a school-wide trash pick-up day, a waste audit, or a fundraiser to collect e-waste!

2. Green Transportation

Let’s take a minute to think about all the harmful emissions that we release every day. Do you drive to school? Do you find yourself waiting outside of your friend’s house with your car running for 15 minutes because your friend is late? Do you leave the car running in the winter to warm it up before you get in to drive to class? green students, walking to school, educationAccording to World Economic Forum, air pollution is the fourth-largest threat to human health. There were an estimated 6.5 million deaths worldwide from air pollution-related diseases in 2012! A new school year is a new chance to act against emission pollution and to do your part to improve air quality. If you live near campus, you can choose to walk or bike to class! If you live further away, you can ride the bus or even gather some of your classmates to carpool to school every day. It’s also a good habit to reduce idling when possible. Students are often guilty of idling while sitting in their cars as they wait for class to start. While you’re waiting, do your best to remember to turn off your car!

3. Rethink Your Lunch

There are many things that you can do to have an eco-friendly lunch. First, invest in a lunch box made from recyclable material. You can fill it with reusable plastic food containers and reusable cutlery (such as these ones made from bamboo or any metal cutlery at home works great). Next, say goodbye to single-use plastic water bottles and get a reusable water bottle. Not only do they last longer and keep your beverages at the desired temperature for longer, but they also save you some money by avoiding having to pay for water as well. It’s also a great idea to invest in some metal straws to prevent any of those pesky plastic straws from reaching our beautiful oceans. Last, test yourself and try to enforce having one or two days a week where you practice a litterless lunch! Every effort counts.

4. Study Smart

We’ve all heard the saying “study smarter, not harder.” This notion also applies to sustainable studying! It’s not hard to make a positive difference AND make student life easier! Before you go back to school shopping, take the time to look at the supplies you already have and see which ones can be re-used for this year. Often, we get so wrapped up in back-to-school shopping that we buy things that we already had! I know that I’m guilty of buying a new calculator every year when I had a perfectly good one to start with. This practice can end up saving you money and unnecessary resources! studentAnother way to study smart is to try to eliminate paper as much as you can. School is filled with so many books, handouts, and homework. You can cut down on paper usage by:
  • Purchasing eBooks instead of paperbacks. This tip is great because it will make for a much lighter backpack!
  • Encourage your professors to send out the lesson as an e-mail or pdf instead of printing handouts for the class.
  • Study smart by making digital flashcards online. These are easy to make, and you can take them with you everywhere you go!
  • Take lecture notes on your laptop instead of writing them out. This tip makes for faster note taking!
You can also take your note taking to the next level of sustainability by purchasing refillable pens and even reusable paper! This set created by Rocketbook is great for students because your notes can be easily uploaded online after class and then the notebook is wiped clean again with just water!

5. Power Down

Remember to power down! Always turn off all lights and unnecessary appliances when they are not in use. This will also reflect positively on your electricity bill - you would be surprised by the amount of energy that is used by appliances that are left plugged into the wall. The easiest way to do this is to purchase a power connector and simply flipping off the switch when you leave the room.

6. Recycle

[caption id="attachment_8065" align="alignright" width="600"]recycling bins, streams, graphics CleanRiver's Excel Slant Top[/caption] The last and one of the easiest tips is to recycle! It takes minimal effort and time to think before you toss. So, the next time you see one of CleanRiver’s recycling bins on campus, pause for a second to look at the signage and graphics– this will make recycling decision making a breeze. Be sure to check out CleanRiver’s updated Book of Recycling Graphics for ideas on how you can update your school’s graphics and to refresh the look of your recycling bins.  
For information on school recycling programs, check out our other blogs: Starting a recycling program at your school? Check out our eBook.

Campus Recycling Program

CleanRiver Recycling provides a variety of innovative, flexible and customizable recycling solutions. To determine the right solution to meet your needs, use the CleanRiver product selector. If you have additional questions that weren’t answered in this blog post please call us at 1-866-479-4038 or email