(A Student’s) Green Shopping Guide

By Stephanie Businelli

Congratulations! You fought through your SATs, got your diploma, and are now heading towards “the best four years of your life,” more commonly known as college. If you’re a student who plans to live on campus, now is the time to start shopping for your new home, one that will be entirely yours (with the sole exception of that roommate you’ve been getting to know over Facebook this summer). While you’re buying supplies that will make your dorm reflect the uniqueness that is you, don’t forget to keep your permanent home – planet Earth – in mind. Making your dorm ‘green’ may seem as impossible as fitting all of your worldly possessions into that tiny room, but it doesn’t have to be! Try asking yourself these questions while you shop for your college dorm essentials:

    1. Can you buy it used? Head to a consignment store before you rush into major purchases. Many items on your list (especially larger ones like furniture) can be found secondhand at a lower price while keeping that “just as good as new” quality.
    2. Is it reusable? Rather than buying single-use items, buy those that have a longer shelf life. A single glass plate can replace countless paper ones that ultimately end up in the trash.

 

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  1. Does the company promote sustainability?While shopping, look for brands that make green products. EPA has programs that can help you shop and live green, including ENERGY STAR, Water Sense, and Design for Environment.
  2. Is it made of recycled materials? Create a recycle ripple effect by buying supplies that use recycled materials. Your purchase will encourage manufactures to make more of these recycled-content products available and help conserve our precious natural resources.
  3. Is it locally produced? Products made locally require less transportation, requiring less fuel use and reducing their overall environmental impact. Not to mention, you‘ll be supporting businesses in your community!

EPA estimates that 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are associated with the energy used to produce, process, transport, and dispose of food and goods. By making your dorm green (in practice – color is completely optional), you’re working towards a more sustainable future. Your actions can have a huge effect! For more information and additional ideas check out Think Green Before You Shop.

 

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About the author: Stephanie Businelli is a biological basis of behavior major and environmental studies minor at the University of Pennsylvania. As an intern for the EPA Communications Services Staff in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, she likes to brainstorm green dorm ideas she wishes she had known as a freshman. She’s currently offering a hefty reward for the first person to create a (environmentally-friendly) time machine.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Green Your Dorm (or Home!) with Our Back to School Pinterest Board

By Stephanie Businelli

It’s that time of year again! The summer is slowing down and if you are a high school graduate heading to college, chances are you are frantically buying items from that (never-ending) list of dorm essentials. Before you head out to another store, be sure to check out our new Green Your Dorm (or Home!) Pinterest board. Find easy do it yourself (DIY) projects that can help you recycle objects you have around the house while crossing items off of your shopping list. You’ll find green ways to create cork boards, jewelry holders, air fresheners, and more. Aren’t shopping for dorm supplies this summer but feel inspired? These DIY ideas are great for your home as well!

Why are we sharing this information with us? We need your help to reduce these numbers:
· Americans threw away 250,000,000 tons of trash in 2012.
· 134,000,000 tons of that trash ended up in landfills and incinerators.

Your actions can have a huge effect. Be sure to check out our Green Your Dorm (or Home!) Pinterest board before you go shopping this summer.

About the Author: Stephanie Businelli is a biological basis of behavior major and environmental studies minor at the University of Pennsylvania. As an intern for the EPA Communications Services Staff in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, she loves all DIY projects, especially those that help her protect the Earth (and her bank account).

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

What I Wish I’d Known Before I Moved Into a Dorm

Rosemarie Stephens-Booker

By: Rosemarie Stephens-Booker

Summer is here, and for many families this is a time of preparation as their children get ready to head to college in the fall. Several of my co-workers are in the thick of this planning process, and hearing their stories has led me to reflect on my own journey into college life.

Eight years ago I spent my last summer in the house I grew up in. I was amazed at how quickly the time passed between graduation day and packing the car to leave for college.

But was I ready?

Of course, my neighbors, friends and family tried to prepare me for those sleepless nights in the library, endless hours in the biology and chemistry labs, and the very real freshman 15. But, no one warned me that my entire summer would be filled with shopping trips for those essential college dorm room “must haves.” I remember shopping for the best compact refrigerator, laptop or desktop computer, the multi-colored light fixtures for my room, and most importantly…my first television. I thought about how certain purchases would look with the décor of my soon-to-be new home, and my roommate and I talked about what size television we should purchase. I also knew that I wanted to find a good compact refrigerator. But despite all of this planning, I never thought to look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Did you know products like those listed above make up a significant part of the energy used in the average college residence hall?  At that time in my life, I didn’t even know that most the electronics I bought were available in an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR labeled model.

I have since learned that my purchasing decisions can have a positive impact in the fight against climate change. By choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified computer or TV, I help reduce my college’s energy bills and help prevent the release of harmful carbon pollution resulting from the burning of fossils fuels used to generate electricity. If every TV, DVD player and home theater system sold this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would prevent more than 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the annual emissions of more than 300,000 cars.

Today, the little blue ENERGY STAR label can be seen across more than 65 different product categories including lighting, appliances, and electronics. So, don’t be like me — look for the ENERGY STAR!

Connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, and at energystar.gov to learn more ways to save energy, help your college-age loved ones not blow a fuse in the dormitory, and help save the environment.

Rosemarie Stephens-Booker begin her journey with the  ENERGY STAR Program as an EPA intern, and worked on the 2007 “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign.  After completing college she continued to support the ENERGY STAR Program in various roles, including traveling with the ENERGY STAR exhibit house, supporting the Green the Capitol initiative with qualified vending machines, appliance marketing, consumer education and appliance recycling initiatives. She is an avid theatre lover and a professional classical vocalist.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.