How to make your home greener

By Samantha Boyle, Managing Editor For Reporting

College living often revolves around saving money as much as possible. And while that is important, it may also be good to keep in mind some things you can do to help the planet. Not only will some of these tips lower your carbon footprint, but a lot of them will lower some of your bills, too.

Set shower limits

This might be one thing people do not want to hear, but setting a shower time limit will save you time, money and water. On top of that, using cold water may help a bunch as well. Some other shower tips would be to turn the water completely off while shampooing or conditioning your hair. You may also want to shorten the amount of time your water runs before getting into it. I’ve been guilty of taking long showers and using up all the hot water, but I’ve found that if I time my showers and try to beat my time every shower I take, it’ll eventually help us all.

Use reusable dishes 

It’s way too easy to buy dishes and cutlery you can just throw away after using, but I think we all know that may not be the most ideal thing for our planet. Dishes, cups and cutlery can be found for pretty cheap on Amazon, Target or even Goodwill. Prioritizing this instead of paper or styrofoam plates will only add a couple more minutes to mealtimes for cleaning dishes.

Use a water filter and reusable water bottles 

Water filters or Britas are another one of the best investments you can make in college. These are items you buy one time and only have to fill with water to continue to use. Making this a habit instead of buying bottled water will eventually save you money and help the planet. We should be all drinking a lot of water, and there’s no better way to stay hydrated than when you’re helping the planet as well.

Use sunlight and windows 

During the day, open as many blinds as you can. This can help your mood, your electricity bill and your planet. Using artificial lights while there’s natural light outside seems a bit counterintuitive. In a time where we are supposed to stay inside as much as possible, we should try to get some sunlight into our living spaces. Again, this is a method that will help you save some money on your electricity bill as well as help the planet.

Farmers markets 

When farmers markets are in town, go shop there! They have some of the best produce, and most of it is grown or made locally. Going to local farm stands could reduce the number of synthetic chemicals that are in other produce from bigger grocery store chains. Shopping there also helps preserve local farmland, which is pretty prominent in the Champaign-Urbana area. There’s also the Sustainable Student Farm that has direct ties with the University.

Compost

Composting reduces the amount of food waste in landfills and recycles nutrients back into the soil. If you have the means to make a little compost pile, you could be helping the planet. Cooking at home and composting any food waste will greatly reduce waste as well.

Go vegetarian or vegan  

Full disclosure, I am vegan and have been since 2017. While it was a great decision for me and I’ve loved every minute of it, I know it’s not sustainable for everyone’s lifestyle. However, the meat industry causes quite a bit of pollution, and if you were to eat vegetarian or vegan at least one day a week, it could make a huge difference.

 

Samantha is a senior in Media.

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