A sustainable lifestyle requires you to make conscientious purchasing decisions, and to take thoughtful actions both in your home and when out and about. To give you a jumpstart on living more sustainably, we’ve put together some things for you to consider.
LIVING AT AU |
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
A good set up in your room and in your backpack allows you to easily make more sustainable choices, while saving money and reducing impacts on the environment. Here are suggestions and resources to help you pack for sustainable living.
Avoid buying things you really don’t need.
Borrow, swap, or rent when possible.
Repair or refurbish durable goods before purchasing new ones.
Think of the long-term value and cost of goods, including maintenance and disposal costs.
Buy products with minimal packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled, such as buying in bulk.
Avoid purchasing single-use items.
Consider third-party certifications that may apply to the type of product you’re purchasing (e.g. – Green Seal, Energy Star, Design-for-the-Environment, Fair Trade, B-Corporation, FSC, SFI, EPEAT, Rain Forest Alliance, Cruelty-Free).
Shop at second-hand stores.
Support your community by frequenting locally-owned businesses and markets.
Personal Car — You can leave your car at home. Instead, use transportation options in Auburn, such as Tiger Transit, Ride Amigos, and Lee-Russell Public Transit. Of course, the most sustainable option would be to bike.
Recycling Bags (On Campus) — Keep recyclables out of the landfill. Use the orange and blue bags provided in your residence hall room to carry recyclables to outside bins.
Bedding and Towels — Bring them from home. If you need to buy some, choose organic.
Decorations — Add a touch of home by bringing ones you already own or purchase from a local artisan.
Drying Rack — Set up a portable drying rack to air dry clothes.
Fan — Use a fan to cool yourself while in your space.
Flashlight — If you need to get a flashlight, get a cranking flashlight.
Body Products — Purchase body products that have high ratings for health, environment, and social impacts on Good Guide.
Shower Curtain — Get a fabric shower curtain liner that you can wash and reuse, instead of a plastic one that can emit harmful fumes.
Appliances — Bring Energy Star certified appliances.
Carpet — Invest in carpet tiles for easy installation, cleaning, and replacement.
Dish Towels & Napkins — Choose cloth towels & napkins.
Utensils — Bring reusables for your room, and don’t forget portable eating utensils to carry when you go out.
Water Bottle & Pitcher — Bring a pitcher for keeping water or tea in your refrigerator, and don’t forget your bottle for when you head out.
Shopping Bags — Carry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.
Desk Lamp — Use only CFL or LED light bulbs.
Desk Organizer — Get creative and make your own, or buy one made of recycled products.
Memo Board — Instead of a dry erase board, purchase an easy-to-clean glass memo board.
‘Smart’ Surge Protector — Don’t just buy any surge protector, get a ‘smart’ one that turns off your accessories when your computer powers down.
IN YOUR HOME
The small decisions we make daily together create a large impact. Make a positive difference, by living conscientiously within your home. Here are some tips to get you going.
Keep your space warm in the summer and cool in the winter.
Wear a sweater in the winter instead of raising the room temperature.
Try to use daylight as much as possible, instead of turning on lights.
Turn off the lights when leaving the room.
Get some air-cleansing houseplants for your home instead of using chemical air fresheners.
Report water leaks to your Residence Assistant or Property Manager.
Take shorter showers. Aim for 5 minutes or less.
Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and then turn back on to rinse.
Unnecessary toilet flushing wastes water.
Instead of throwing things away, donate unneeded items to area organizations.
Do not use fabric softener.
Only wash full loads of laundry.
Wash clothes in cold water.
Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer, whenever possible.
Clean with reusable rags and sponges instead of paper towels.
Go beyond purchasing green cleaning products, by looking to your cupboards for safe, effective, and cheaper alternatives.
Purchase food from local farmers and vendors.
Choose produce that is in peak harvest season for our region.
Utilize reusable dishware, utensils, dish towels, and napkins instead of disposables.
Avoid purchasing bottled water.
Set computer to sleep after no more than 10 minutes of inactivity, and to turn off after 20 minutes of inactivity.
Unplug electronics or turn off the power strip when not in use. Better yet, invest in a smart strip that shuts them off for you.
Take notes directly on your computer to avoid using paper.
Avoid printing, when possible.
Set your computer defaults to 1” or less margins, and to print doubled-sided, draft quality.
Reuse old envelopes and scrap paper whenever possible.
Recycle your ink/toner cartridges, and buy ones that have been refilled.
Recycle electronics and batteries.
OUT AND ABOUT
Making sustainable choices shouldn’t stop at your front door. There are plenty of ways you can have a positive impact when heading out. Here are some tips to get you moving in the right direction.
Use a backpack you already have instead of buying a new one, preferably one with a hip strap to protect your back.
Bringing a rain jacket with you when rain is expected will make walking or biking to class more enjoyable. If you need to purchase a rain jacket, support companies that embrace sustainability.
Carry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.
Taking an umbrella makes walking across campus more comfortable, whether it’s protection from the rain or the sun.
Carry your own portable eating utensils, and eat in style.
Fill up your reusable water bottle.
Refill water bottles at WEGL Water stations throughout campus to avoid buying bottled water.
Get discounts at Caribou Coffee when you bring your own mug.
Eat healthy and local food at Fresh from the Plains.
Grow your own food at home or with friends in the Community Garden.
Find recycling bins both outside and inside campus buildings for your plastics and aluminum.
The best choice is to use no-carbon transportation (walking, bicycle, skateboarding).
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Know biking guidelines and laws.
Plan errands to avoid multiple trips.
Ride Tiger Transit on and off campus.
Create a Ride Amigos profile to carpool with other students.
Consider the Groome Transportation shuttle to get to and from the Atlanta airport.
When flying, purchase carbon offsets.
If you own a personal vehicle keep it well maintain and check your tire pressure regularly.
If you’re the last one out, turn lights off when leaving a room, including public bathrooms and common areas.
Report water leaks and maintenance issues to building staff.
Find and use the recycling bins.
Sustainable living requires an understanding of interconnections, and thinking about a variety of scales like personal, local, regional, and global. To help you identify the primary areas of impact for the listed strategies, we’ve included the following icons.