There is no doubt that the love for the earth is thriving on our beautiful campus, but at times this love does not translate into actions. The intentions are there, yet we remain blind to everyday acts that model a “green” lifestyle, and will, in time, make a change.
Here are just a few of the simple ways to practice living ecologically aware in the context of Cornell and college in general:
1Collect your compost!
Once you shift your awareness to how much compost passes through your life, you won’t be able to ignore it. Apple cores, coffee grinds, banana peels; we all know you’re bringing fruit back to your room from the dining halls, but where are the remains going? Reuse a sealable container (nut or animal cracker packaging) and use it as a temporary compost box in your room. The same way you dump your garbage and recycle, dump your compost in either your dorms community bin or in any bin around campus, such as in MVR or Trillium. If you’re living off campus, look into a nearby compost service or start your own compost.
2Know how to recycle
Chances are the same, potentially recyclable, materials are passing through your everyday routine. It’s time we clear the confusion and articulate what can and cannot be recycled. The Starbucks cups that flood the campus trash, unfortunately, cannot be recycled due to their wax coating. However, the lids can be removed and recycled! Granola bar wrappers, chip bags and candy wrappers can’t be recycled, but they can be terra-cycled. This will allow your dear cookie bag to have an after-life in new packaging.
3Donate old clothes & shop at thrift stores
If you’re anything like everyone, you have ordered a ton of new stuff since move in. Naturally, buying a new wardrobe was imperative to your college success, but now you face the problem of an overcrowded room. For the sake of your sanity it’s time to give up at least one of the sweatshirts piled onto your hooks. Donate to Cornell Thrift or the local thrift store, such as Plato’s Closet or Trader K’s. Reconsider buying your “fracket” online and check out the local thrift spots to find a cheaper, greener and honestly a cooler fix.
4Bring your own coffee cup
Sounds like a broken record, yet there is still room for change. Especially being that the Starbucks cups aren’t recyclable, using a reusable mug is crucial. To top it off, most, if not all, places on campus give you a discount if you bring your own cup; don’t pretend like those extra BRBs wouldn’t be nice right now. Finally, with the cold weather coming you can’t afford for your coffee to get cold, so pull out that insulated mug and go green.
5Buy in bulk
While bear necessities may provide a convenient snack, if you plan ahead less damage will be done on the earth and your bank account. It is time to jumbo size your goldfish, cereal, and candy; full blown Costco/BJS edition. Start planning your afternoon snack in advance by packing it in a reusable bag.
6Use the bookstore in town or the Cornell reuse library
Part of being “green” is also supporting our local businesses and their sustainable business practices, instead of the high energy using corporations. Rather than overnighting your textbooks and books in a panic, check out the Cornell reuse library. Or make a trip to the commons to visit the bookstore.
7Avoid ordering from Amazon
We are all guilty of a shameless love for parcel notifications. Until amazon finds a better way to package their goods, try to restrain yourself from supporting their genius, yet incredibly wasteful approach. If it has to happen, try to reuse the packaging; use it as incentive to finally send a package back to your friend.
8Do DIY crafts
Wondering what to do with old, non-donatable clothes, empty cans or empty boxes? Time to DIY those otherwise unusable materials into patches for clothing, book-covers, pencil holders, and storage containers. Once you go PInterest, you won’t ever go back.
9Use reusable Keurig cups
In all senses- reusable Keurig cups are better. Instead of the watery Keurig coffee that you’re used to, the free-reins of the reusable cups allow for the coffee you really want. You can fill that cup to the brim with your coffee grinds. Now you will also have an excuse to buy from the fancy coffee-grind section at Wegmans. Above all, you can say goodbye to the wasteful cups filling your garbage and, ultimately, landfills.