For the most part, everyone understands what it means to “go green.” Whether it be biking to class instead of driving, or opting for a reusable bag at the grocery store instead of using a plastic one, sustainability can be incorporated into our everyday lives. However, when you’re a college student with a busy schedule, sometimes it seems like going green requires a lot of time and effort that you don’t have to devote to becoming entirely eco-friendly. 

You don’t have to go vegan or join an environmental club to make your lifestyle more sustainable on campus. There are tons of tiny ways you can minimize your carbon footprint. Here are some easy, green living tips you can incorporate into your everyday life as a college student: 

1.Unplug 

 In 2018, overall electricity production represented 37 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States alone, according to a report by the New York Times. Chargers and small appliances, like a coffee maker or microwave, use standby power even when they aren’t being used. To avoid wasted electricity, and save money if you’re someone who pays their own electric bill, keep these items plugged into a power strip and flip the switch to “off” when you leave the house (or dorm room).

2. Buy local and be thrifty 

Buying local doesn’t always just mean visiting your local farmers market (although the South Kingstown Farmers Market is a great place to check out small businesses selling produce and more). Check out different thrift stores for secondhand furniture, unique dorm room or house decorations and even school supplies. Not only is it better for the environment, but you’re also likely to find some one-of-a-kind stuff that makes the typical Target college-brand stuff look boring. 

3. Use a reusable coffee cup 

Think about how much plastic you’ve used by getting a Dunkin’ coffee every day. Now, imagine using a reusable cup every time you need that morning iced coffee fix. Although disposable cups are recyclable, there is no doubting the effects cutting down on single-use plastics can have on the environment. Single-use items make up 10 percent of trash in the U.S. and 29 percent of greenhouse gases come from stuff we make, consume and dispose of according to Vox. Investing in a $5 reusable coffee cup can help reduce the amount of plastic waste not only on a college campus, but on the planet as well. 

4. Buy a Bamboo Toothbrush 

According to EcoVibe, it takes about 400 years for one toothbrush to decompose. By buying a bamboo compostable toothbrush,  you can directly contribute to lessening plastic pollution for as little as $4. 

5. Vote

In 2019, the United Nations reported we have 11 years left to transition away from fossil fuels and prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The most important way you can join the fight against climate change is by voting not only in national elections, but locally too. Voting for elected officials who will facilitate conversations in their communities about sustainable practices and commit to environmental legislation can have huge impacts on the way the country addresses climate change. 

There are so many ways to incorporate sustainability into your life, even while living on a college campus. You can always join green organizations and even help organize sustainability education initiatives for your peers and local businesses. The most important thing is that you try, and encourage others around you to implement one or two green things into their daily routines.