Hey everyone! I'm going to start off with my first post on this blog focusing on small things you can do in the dorm to start living a greener lifestyle. Live off-campus? You're not off the hook. These tips also apply to you.
1. Swap out your energy sucking incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFLs (they're those weird looking spirally light bulbs.) You can find them almost everywhere now, including Wal-Mart. They might be a bit more expensive, but they last longer, and they use way less energy. Double whammy!
**A friend just informed me that you can get CFLs for your room from Physical Plant FOR FREE (Thanks, Z!)! Allegheny FTW! (Also, check out the comments-- Recycle your CFLs at Home Depot!) **
2. Turn your computer off when you finally decide to hit the hay. Those e-mails (which you might even get forwarded to your phone anyways...), Facebook messages, tweets, and blog updates are still going to be there when you wake up in the morning. And let's face it, if someone really needed to get a hold of you, they'd call or text you... So save that 6-10 hours of power draining for during the day when you really need it to chip away at that 10 page paper you have due in a few hours (or screw around on Facebook, which is what you're probably doing instead...)
3. Thirsty? Buy a Brita and a reusable waterbottle. Don't waste your money on the Aquafina they sell in McKinley's, it's just the same filtered water you get out of a Brita, only with a pretty blue label and a plastic bottle you're probably going to forget to recycle. I have a Brita in my house, and I love it. Personally, I think Brita water tastes better than Aquafina, anyway, and I can refill my waterbottle as many times a day as I want, FOR FREE. So, invest now, and save yourself some cash in the long run.
4. Instead of using plastic and styrofoam disposable plates, cups, and utensils, head out to the Dollar Store and pick yourself up some super cheap glass or cermaic plates and cups. If you're going to keep using disposables, at least make sure they're plastic (rather than styrofoam) and recyclable. Buying red plastic party cups for that upcoming bash you're planning? Have people recycle them instead of throwing them away (or all over your living room) and consider reusing those 12 pong cups... there was just water in them, after all.
5. Probably the easiest thing I'll say to you: RECYCLE. If you live in a dorm, it takes an extra 30 seconds to run to the trash room and recycle your waste. If you're really that pressed for time, keep a box in your room, and take it down whenever you have to take down your smelly trash bag. If you're living in a house, it's probably even easier. Did you know in the city of Meadville, you don't even have to separate your recycling? You don't even have to take off the labels. Just make sure your containers are clean and the lids are off. Check out this article from the Meadville Tribune for more info!
There are about a million other things you can do, too, but we'll start off with five. Even if you claim to hate the Earth and the Environmentalists trying to protect it, doing these things doesn't just benefit the planet, they benefit you. They'll save you money, and you'll get into the habit of doing these simple things so that when you move into your own house or apartment (if you don't already live in one) and you have to take responsibility for your utility bills, maybe that time of the month when you dread the mail won't be quite as dreadful.
I'm off to read about more environmentally friendly practices!