Greening Your Child’s College Years

By Lina Younes

Many parents are getting ready for their children to start a new chapter in their lives: going to college. As parents, we’ve made our best efforts to ensure that our children are ready academically and financially as they leave the family nest. Whether these young adults are going to live in a dorm, an apartment or continue living at home, this is an opportune moment for us, as parents, to reinforce green-living habits. Since many will be on their own for the first time, they will benefit from knowing how best to save natural resources and money during this new stage in their lives and beyond.

How about some useful tips that will help them save energy, conserve water and reduce waste?

  • Use Energy Star certified light bulbs in living quarters to save energy while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Thinking of getting a new computer, printer, or electronics for college? Make sure the new device is Energy Star certified. Furthermore, turn your electronics to “sleep mode” when your away from your computer or use a power strip to turn your electronics off for additional energy savings.
  • Is your student getting a new cell phone or mobile device? Encourage them to eCycle the old one.  By eCycling your computer or your phone, you prevent valuable natural resources from being wasted in landfills. Recycling electronics also helps to reduce pollution that would otherwise be generated during the manufacturing process.
  • Water use has a big impact on the environment. Remember to turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving and take short showers.
  • Safer detergents. Your children will (perhaps begrudgingly) need to keep their clothes and living space clean. Why not use products with the DfE Label (Design for the Environment) that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment?
  • Are your children really environmentally conscious? Do they want to determine their carbon footprint? Have them measure their own carbon footprint with this personal calculator to see their impact on the environment.
  • So, do you have any words of green wisdom that you want to share with us? We love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.