It’s important in today’s age to reduce one’s carbon footprint and be environmentally friendly by taking easy steps to recycle and purchase reusable water bottles, but what are some alternative ways to go green? Drake’s “Blue is Green” campaign does a lot of work for students by implementing single-stream recycling for residence halls, providing eco-totes (reusable shopping bags) for first-years and giving all students and faculty freedom to ride Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority buses for free, but there are still many other ways students can help out Mother Earth.
Drake Environmental Action League Co-President and senior Carol Kim encourages students to use surrounding businesses to satisfy needs and wants.
“Buy local,” Kim said. “Less gasoline is used to transport the goods, less fossil fuels are used, less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere and all that slows down the process of global warming.”
Events such as the downtown farmers’ market on Saturdays and the Drake-neighborhood farmers’ market on Wednesdays are fun, easy ways to help out local vendors and find the best food in town.
There are other off-beat ways to stay green, Kim said.
“Don’t free balloons into the sky because they will most likely end up in the ocean and some sea turtle will eat it thinking it’s kelp and die,” she said.
Ways for students to stay green
- Students can bring their own to Olmsted and other coffee shops. Most places even offer a 10-cent discount.
- Similarly, students can bring their own water bottles to Quad Creek Cafe when they eat in. Avoid taking a cup to go.
- Anyone with a smartphone can download an app from goodguide.com that scans barcodes at home or in the store to quickly evaluate the safety, health, green and ethical impact of food and health products based on scientific ratings.
- Washing clothes on “cold” saves substantial energy, since approximately 90 percent of energy used by washing machines heats up the water.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned foods, which take at least 10 times more energy to package.
- Unplug lamps, printers, chargers etc., when not in use. Many people don’t realize electronics suck up energy from outlets even when they’re not being used or set at “off.”
- Keep down the screen brightness on laptops and set preferences to the energy saving setting that’s often available.
- Eat less meat. Energy is used to transport corn to feed animals, prepare and package the meat and transport it to stores around the country. When buying meat opt for local, grass-fed choices.
- Go for glass bottles instead of cans when buying beer (for those students over 21). Glass takes less energy to manufacture.
- Buy recycled paper for personal printers, and invest in ink refills for pens instead of buying new ones every time they dry up.
- Students can donate clothes and supplies they don’t use instead of throwing them away. They can also use Freecycle.org where people donate items they no longer need, for free!