The start of a new school year means millions of students are returning to thousands of college campuses across the country. Move-in day can be stressful, chaotic, and downright unpleasant, but that does not justify being careless with the disposal of the extraordinary amount of waste produced during this short period of time. The impact of move-in and move-out days typically includes streets being filled with overloaded trash cans and overflowing dumpsters, soon to be hauled away to the nearest landfill. To address this problem, many colleges and universities nationwide have begun to encourage new and returning students to green their move in with a few simple steps.
When purchasing items for your room, look for sustainable products
From simply purchasing a reusable water bottle instead of bottles of water to purchasing items made solely from recycled materials, being environmentally conscious while shopping can make an extensive impact on the amount of waste produced that will be landfilled.
Pack with reusable containers whenever possible
Not only will using plastic storage containers prevent cardboard boxes from ending up in a landfill, but they also will make move-in and move-out simple and convenient. Many storage containers are much easier to carry than cardboard boxes, especially if they are loaded with heavy items such as pots and pans. You will also be thanking yourself for this purchase in May, when move-out day comes around, and you already have everything you need to pack up.
Reuse or recycle any cardboard boxes
If you must use cardboard boxes to move, be sure to reuse these boxes whenever possible. If you have the space, store the boxes to be used at the end of the year for move out. Another great way to reuse boxes is to use them to collect recyclables throughout the year. If reuse is not an option, be sure to break down the boxes before you recycle, to save room for others’ recyclables.
Many universities, such as University of Pennsylvania, Southern Illinois University, and Northwestern University, have more extensive programs to encourage a “green” move-in. From collecting unwanted items to be donated to charity to assisting students with recycling, these programs are highly successful in diverting waste from the landfill. Even if your school doesn’t have an official program for a sustainable move-in, encourage your friends and neighbors to reduce the amount of waste landfilled, as well.