Midterms are daunting times of the semester and for many students, myself included, it’s hard to think about anything else besides the information on the test and the fear of failing. Being sustainable during the most stressful times of college might be the last thing on your mind, but there are simple ways that will save you money so you can spend it after that statics, physics or ecology test to celebrate!
Integrating equations by parts, drawing out phylogenetic trees of life, or rewriting notes over and over again until it’s burned into your brain? Studying can require lots of scrap paper. Why waste good notebook paper that you paid for when there is an abundance of scrap paper at all printing location on campus. I take it a step further and don’t even buy notebooks anymore because I am committed to reuse notebooks that still have clean pages and hole punch scrap paper and stick them in reusable binders. You could also nix the whole paper route while studying by using whiteboards, which I remember doing for my chemistry final freshmen year. You can also keep all notes electronically on your laptop or tablet.
Now in order to stay up and fight sleep deprivation, coffee will be you’re greatest ally. However, disposable cups and their plastic covers are not great friends with our planet. According to a study from the alliance for the Environmental Innovation in a collaboration with Starbucks, paper cups create .24 lbs of CO2 emissions each. Considering America consumes 400 million cups of coffee a day, .24 lbs of CO2 each is a lot of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere. The production of each cup also entails water and energy as well as the chemicals used in the bleaching and lining, ink, packaging and oil used in transportation, which makes throwing out 1 cup more impactful than it seems. To combat this, many businesses like Starbucks and Campus Dining and Shops have reusable mug programs. At different on campus dining locations, you can buy a UB reusable mug for $2.99 and get your first fill for free. For every other fill up with that mug, you save 10% and prevent cups from filling our landfills.
Even though it doesn’t seem like it at first, little actions add up and can make a big impact. If everyone knew that everything in our lives is worth more in energy, water and materials than they seem, we’d have a lot less waste. Consciousness is key!
Good luck to everybody on your exams! No matter what you get on the test, you’ll get an A in sustainability* by following this blog!
Student Sustainability Coordinator, CDS
*Not transferrable on a transcript, not for credit, not for a grade, not pass/fail, not real.