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Love it or hate it–  it’s time to head back to school. Time to set goals, re-up on supplies, and maybe pick out a new outfit or two. As you are getting ready for the new school year, don’t forget some ways to stay green while you do so!  Here are some green tips to help improve your footprint and decrease your consumption this year.

TEACHERS

Teachers are undoubtedly the mind molders of future generations. Here are some ways you can help make a difference starting in your classroom this school year;

  • Keep an eye on the temperature in your classroom.
    • Keeping the air conditioning set to 75 degrees and the heat to 68 during the colder months will help save energy and reduce your classroom’s energy usage and footprint!
    • During the nicer parts of the year, cut the AC off and open a window.
  • Discussing the importance of reducing individual’s environmental impacts with your students can help make a difference.
    • Encourage the use of reusable items such as water bottles and reusable containers for lunches and snacks
    • Volunteer to start a compost bin at your school and engage your students by having them participate
    • Promote recycling by having a designated bin in your room and make sure your students know what goes where.
  • Be mindful of the power you’re using in your classroom as well. Be sure to turn the lights off before leaving for the day. If going on extended holidays, weekends or vacations, unplug any electronics.

STUDENTS

For the students headed back to campus, regardless of your school’s colors here are some ways you can go green this year. To keep it simple we’ll follow the 4 R’s.

REDUCE

  • Take notes on a laptop as opposed to paper– just stay off of Facebook!
  • Reduce your energy usage and switch to LED bulbs in your dorm or apartment
  • Buying organic and local products such as food, clothing, and even recycled notebook paper this will reduce your footprint.

REUSE

  • Before you spend any money at the bookstore, check and see what’s left over from last year. If anything can be reused, go ahead and check that off your list. Items such as book bags, notebooks, pens, highlighters, and calculators are among reusable school supply items.
  • Thrift it out when looking for clothing. You never what someone has tossed away or donated. You may come across something great!
  • Use any of the following reusable items when possible;
    • Water bottles, plastic food containers, and reusable bags for what little shopping you may do– you can fit a lot of ramen in those bags!
  • When decorating consider second-hand furniture. There are plenty of used furniture options that can still be stylish and effective.
    • Think long-term, that beer stained couch won’t look good in your home after graduation!
  • Buy used textbooks! They’re cheaper and cut down on your footprint!

RECYCLE

  • Save all those old assignments, notes, papers, and tests. You may need them to study, but at the end of the semester, you can recycle them!
  • Utilize any recycle bins around campus or in your classrooms.
    • Oh, and those aluminum cans from the weekend… those are recyclable too!

RENEW

  • Fill up with RENEW before you head back to campus! It’ll help reduce your emissions by up to 30%!

Additionally, consider volunteering. It’ll help ease you up from the grindstone that is classes, studying and all-nighters. Having a plant in your home can also help you relax when you are able to have some downtime. Not to mention, it’ll purify the air in your home.

We hope you have a great year filled with great experiences, shattered goals and lots of learning!