How to Make Your Dorm Room Green
By Courtney Han
With the combination of energy inefficient technology, appliances, chemical soaps and non-biodegradable dinnerware, the dorm room can be an environmental killer. Here are a few tips on how to make your dorm green this school year.
Bed Sheets—Go Organic
The production of non-organic cotton uses tons of pesticides and chemicals, causing water and air pollution for the environment. By using organically grown cotton sheets, you are reducing the amount of chemicals released into the atmosphere. You are also limiting your exposure to these harmful substances, which is a plus for your health. The prices are comparable to regular bed sheets, and they look and feel exactly the same. Go to thecleanbedroom.com for organic bedsheets.
Pew, what’s that smell? For most teenagers, college is the first time that they are off on their own. They are faced with many new responsibilities, like taking care of their meals, transportation, and worst of all, cleaning. Many soaps and detergents have chemicals that harm the environment, sometimes causing water and air pollution. Organic and green products like Seventh Generation laundry detergent and household cleaners make natural, non-toxic cleaners and package their products in recycled materials, going to great lengths to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.
Decoration—Natural Air Filters
Homework, homework, homework! After hours of being stuck inside doing homework, your room can sometimes feel like a dark, dreary prison. Brighten up your room with a house plant. Not only does it add some warmth to your room, it also helps clean the air. Many house plants act as filters for the air by taking out toxins and dust particles. And don’t worry—most plants don’t require more than a simple daily watering. Go to finearttips.com for a list of air filtering house plants.
Technology and Appliances—ENERGY STAR
In college, your computer is everything. It contains all your school work, gives you homework help and lets you connect with friends and family. It is important to make sure that your computer is energy efficient. ENERGY STAR computers take up less energy but work just as well as regular computers. They are a lot better for the earth. According to ENERGY STAR, if every single house in the United States purchased ENERGY STAR office technology, we could prevent the release of 1.4 billion pounds of greenhouse gases. Imagine what would happen if just half the universities in the United States did the same thing! This idea also applies to small appliances like mini fridges, microwaves and toaster ovens. Every little bit counts! Go to energystar.gov to find where you can get efficient appliances.
When you are at school, you probably won’t want to be storing and cleaning dishware. Most likely, you will use paper plates and plastic utensils. However, this causes a lot of waste. Many paper plates and utensils are made out of non-biodegradable materials, like Styrofoam and plastic. Instead, purchase eco-friendly “paper” plates by Eco Palm. These paper plates are actually made out of steamed leaves and are very durable. They are completely, 100% biodegradable and can be used several times. Go to ecopalmware.com.
Just about Everything—Thrift Store
Going to college is expensive! There is tuition, room and board, textbooks, school supplies and living expenses. You don’t have to add to the cost by spending a fortune on brand new dorm accessories. Thrift stores have tons of things for your dorm room, from small appliances to comfy cushions. By making your purchases at a thrift store you are saving barely used merchandise from being thrown into a landfill. In addition, you won’t feel guilty if anything gets dirty or broken because it was so inexpensive in the first place.