Take the bus instead of driving your car. Don’t use plastic bags at the campus bookstore. Use re-usable coffee cups. Only take what you need from the cafeteria. Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them.
Reducing the amount of harm done to the environment doesn’t have to be difficult or even time-consuming. It can be as easy as making a few lifestyle changes. Because many people don’t realize the impact their actions have on the world around them, they also don’t realize the good they can do by changing their actions. But some of the best changes start in the home, according to Stephen Lothrop, president of Central Oregon Community College’s Sustainability Club. Here are five ways you can help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Take the bus instead of driving your car
Using public transportation reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air as you go through your daily routine, not to mention it spares you trying to find a parking spot on campus. Switching to the bus is not only good for your conscience, but also good for your wallet; students can get monthly bus passes for $10 in the Boyle Education Center.
2. Don’t use plastic bags at the campus bookstore
Every year, the campus bookstore orders and uses 8,000 plastic bags, according to bookstore employee Justine Lucia. This is an improvement over the 10,000 bags that were ordered annually before she started raising awareness to the issue five years ago, but she said it’s still a big number that she would like to see reduced. A good alternative to taking plastic bags from the bookstore is to bring your own reusable shopping bag or book bag, or to purchase a reusable bag for 99 cents at the bookstore.
3. Use re-usable coffee cups
When the Sustainability Club had its trash pickup day during fall term, 30 pounds of the trash collected were disposable coffee cups, according to Lothrop. Disposable coffee cups are not recyclable, and most aren’t biodegradable. Reusable coffee cups are a positive alternative because they create less pileup in the landfills and many coffee shops offer discounts if you bring them in.
4.Only take what you need from the cafeteria
The COCC cafeteria recycles its excess food, but waste becomes a problem when people buy meals and throw away what they’re unable to eat. The main issue is when residents of Juniper Hall use their all they can eat meals and get more food than they can eat, according to director of food services, Herb Baker. To avoid creating too much waste, Baker recommended taking smaller portions and then coming back for more if you’re still hungry.
5.Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them
Even when you’re not using your computer and appliances, as long as they’re plugged in they continue to drain electricity. Unplugging your appliances when you’re not using them is a good way to save electricity and money. You can also purchase a power strip, plug all of your appliances into that and turn it off when you’re not using it. The powerstrip will not continue to drain electricity when it’s turned off, according to Lothrop.