Often, it is easy to believe that we are small and insignificant in the scheme of our entire planet, and that it is next to impossible to have any impact on the well-being of our planet. It just seems as though there is so much to do, and so much to think about, and we don't want to go through the effort, because to 'not do' so is much easier on us. However, there are many little, simple things you can do every day that make a big difference in the long run, especially if you can make a game of it with your family, friends and roommates. One person is small, it's true, but many can make a huge impact, and it just has to start with one person. Here are some tips to get you started!
Walk, bike and ride the bus more often if you have a car. Parking on campus is limited and expensive anyway!
Reuse things as much as possible to reduce the amount of waste you produce. If you live on campus, eat at places where you don't have to use Styrofoam and plastic as dishes, or take advantage of the price discount at the cafeterias and bring your own dishes. If you live off-campus, bring your lunch in re-useable containers. In the long run, it'll be better for the planet, and for your bank account!
Recycle. You can find a comprehensive explanation of the recycling systems both on campus and in the city of Guelph on this web site. At first, they may seem overwhelming, but you'll learn soon enough, especially if you practice proper recycling all the time, right from the beginning!
When you're at the grocery store, there is a lot you can do. Choose products with the least packaging, and thank store managers for stocking them. Buy whole fruits and vegetables to avoid the unnecessary trays and wraps. Buy the large or economy size (less packaging per pound of product). Buy concentrates (again, less packaging). And lastly, when you have just an item or two, say, "No bag, thanks."
Buy used textbooks! They're cheaper anyway!
Maintain and repair durable products. If your shoes are wearing thin on the bottom, have them resoled instead of throwing them out.
Buy reusable alkaline batteries (with no toxic cadmium or mercury).
Donate your used, still good clothing, or sell it, instead of throwing it out.
Take advantage of the Internet! Read newspapers online, use email more often. This will reduce your paper usage.
Unless your professors completely object, print essays on both sides of the page. Same with photocopying. If you get fed up with photocopiers like I do, then you can always copy on one side, and then use the backsides of the paper for taking lecture notes. That way you're not buying new paper twice (for the photocopies and lined paper for notes). This isn't kindergarten anymore, I promise you can write in a straight line!
These are just a few suggestions that are inexpensive and easy enough to implement. They'll get you started! You can always search the internet for more ideas and tips. Stay green and stay healthy!