Top 10 Ways to be Sustainable on Campus


A reusable water bottle, which is one of the best ways to be more sustainable around campus.

Between the record-breaking heat wave this summer, the forest fires in the Amazon, and the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, proof of global climate change is undeniable. These events increase the need to be sustainable in our everyday lives. As a college student, you may feel it’s hard to take sustainable actions, but it doesn’t have to be. The following list shows how we can make a difference right on campus: 

Invest in a reusable straw: Most college students depend on coffee to get them through a late-night study session. With a Starbucks right on campus, Moravian students are no different. However, that plastic straw that you get with any iced coffee or frappuccino is contributing to the staggering amount of garbage thrown away each day. There are many eco-friendly alternatives to these plastic straws, including those made from stainless steel or glass. 

Recycle: There are plenty of recycling bins around campus. Each city has different recycling rules, so what you recycle at home may not be recyclable here. In Bethlehem, we can recycle plastics #1-7 (straws not included), glass bottles, cardboard that tears brown or gray, aluminum cans, and paper. When recycling, make sure you rinse out the bottle or can so it’s free of food/beverage residue. 

Buy eco-friendly products: In the past few years, there has been an increase in environmentally-friendly brands, from beauty products to accessories to household cleaners. Though some of them are a bit more expensive than our normal brands, we can feel good that we are having a positive impact on the environment. 

Invest in a reusable water bottle: Plastic water bottles can be recycled, but it’s better to eliminate their use if we can. The best way to do this is to get a reusable water bottle. A lot of college students have recently started putting stickers on their Hydro Flasks to personalize them. 

Conserve energy: Sometimes, all it takes is small actions to conserve energy. Conserve energy by turning off the lights when you leave your dorm or use the sunlight to do your readings. Additionally, if you can, turn the heat down in the winter and the air conditioning down in the summer; changing it by just a degree can help save both energy and money. 

Conserve water: Small actions can be used to conserve water as well. For example, you can turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Another action you could try is  shortening your shower; even a minute shorter can help reduce water use. Lastly, try to only do laundry when you have a full load to use less water. 

Carpool or take public transportation: Cars produce a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you create is to carpool or take public transportation. 

Change your web browser: College students are always online, whether we’re researching topics for a paper or binge-watching Netflix. Ecosia is a UK-based search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches. It works the same way as Google Chrome, and can even be added to Chrome as an extension so you don’t lose the look of it. There is even an app for Apple and Android. This is a simple change but one that has a big effect on the environment. 

Try to limit paper usage: College students print out a ton of readings and essays each year. It’s a well-known fact that trees are used in the paper making process. To save as many trees as possible, only print readings and essays when necessary. 

Donate old clothes and buy second-hand: Most college-aged girls love shopping for fun. However, this is not the most sustainable hobby. One way to make it more sustainable is to donate or sell old clothes. The Attic on Main Street or Plato’s Closet in Allentown are great places to sell your clothes, and while you’re there maybe you can pick up a new outfit.