It’s important to celebrate the wonderful planet on which we live, but keep in mind that we should be celebrating our planet all year round, not just for one day! Earth Day serves as a great reminder of all that our planet does for us, and everything that we should be doing to protect and preserve it. So we’ve come up with a list of 10 Ways Students Can Be More Environmentally-Friendly. While Earth Day is certainly a perfect time to set these plans into action, try your best to abide by these goals throughout the entire school year. You’ll be on your way to reducing your carbon footprint in no time!
1. Eliminate Waste From Lunches
When packing your lunch, limit the amount of waste you create by storing food and drinks in reusable containers and bottles. Swap those ziploc bags for tupperware, those Nestle water bottles for reusable water bottles, and those plastic bags for nylon lunch bags. In general, try and pack foods without wrappers (these foods tend to be healthier for you anyways).
2. Stop Littering
Whether it’s a piece of chewing gum or a sandwich, littering impacts our environment. Not only does it hamper the beauty of a neighbourhood, but it causes air pollution. So the next time you need to throw something out, wait until you find a garbage (or recycling bin).
3. Reduce Paper Consumption
There has been a major trend towards the paperless classroom in the last decade, so why not continue this trend on a more personal level. There are some things that you need to have on paper or that need to be printed, but try and minimize the amount of paper you use in the classroom. Take notes on a laptop, print double-sided, and use an online calendar or scheduler to keep your assignments organized! Check out our list of the 11 Best Apps for High School Students- not only will these apps make your life easier, they’ll make you more environmentally-friendly.
4. Swap Regular School Supplies For Eco-Friendly Ones
You would be shocked to discover some of the ingredients in standard school supplies, many of which are harmful to the environment. Luckily, due to increased environmental awareness numerous companies have come out with lines of eco-friendly school supplies, with everything from crayons to staplers. Check out this article on How To Find Eco-Friendly School Supplies.
5. Bring Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store
Soon enough, stores aren’t even going to carry plastic bags. But for now, save yourself the money and do something good for the environment by packing your groceries in reusable grocery bags.
6. Download An Environmental App!
There are a multitude of apps out there that will help you on your journey to becoming more environmentally-friendly. Two of our favourites are Ecoviate and Oroeco. Ecoviate is a newsfeed-based app that posts about eco-friendly products and writes articles that include tips for being environmentally-friendly. And the best part? When someone downloads the Ecoviate app, the Ecoviate team plants a tree. Oroeco serves as a carbon footprint calculating app that allows you to track and reduce your environmental impact. Both are great resources in helping you becoming more environmentally-friendly!
7. Walk To School Or Take Public Transport
Try and reduce the amount of emissions in the air by walking or taking public transport to school instead of driving. We know in some parts of the country it can get cold in the winter, so if walking really isn’t an option then look up the local bus schedule. Get into the habit by forcing yourself to walk to school 2-3 days per week, and by the end of the school year, who knows? You might even prefer the fresh air to sitting inside a stuffy car.
8. Start An Environmental Club
If your school doesn’t have an environmental club, take this opportunity to start one! Having a student-run club dedicated to “going green” is a great way to gain traction in a school and implement school-wide, or even neighbourhood-wide, environmental initiatives. Not only will you meet like-minded people who care about preserving our planet, but you can help teach others about the importance of sustainability on a large-scale. To get the ball rolling, here are some environmental campaigns other schools have come up with:
- Grow a Vegetable Garden on School Grounds
- Litter Committee (Assign ten students each week to pick up all the litter in the school yard and throw it into the garbage and recycling bins)
- Conduct an Energy Audit for Your School
- Hold Screenings of Environmental Films such as An Inconvenient Truth, Planet Earth or Too Hot Not To Handle
9. Take Your Own Mug To A Cafe
Rather than being given a wasteful plastic to-go cup, bring your own reusable travel mug instead! Not only are they more insulated so will keep your coffee warmer for longer, but they’ll reduce the amount of waste you produce! And an added bonus? Most cafes give a small discount on your drink of choice for bringing your own cup.
10. Unplug Your Electronics!
You may think that just because your Xbox is turned off or your computer is asleep means that it’s not using any energy, think again! Appliances continue to use electricity even when they’re turned off, so when your electronics aren’t in use, remember to unplug them from the wall. Buying a power bar is an easy way to ensure all of your items are unplugged, but if you prefer to go the traditional route, be sure to manually unplug each electronic device from the wall when not in use (and certainly before bedtime).