In The Loop

Welcome to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's Blog

Entries for month: August 2016

Sustainable Living Tips for On and Off Campus

August 15, 2016 ·

Every year college students exit residence halls and enter campus communities across the country. Although adjusting to college life can be difficult, continuing sustainable living practices doesn't have to be.

Whether you are a student or know someone who is, here's a look at a typical school routine. These environmental tips can be practiced on and off campus:

  • A morning cup of coffee is crucial for many people. Places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable coffee cups. To reduce waste while making coffee at home or in a dorm, try a reusable K-cup coffee filter for your Keurig. The filter uses ground coffee instead of individual pods.

  • Whenever you can, save paper by taking electronic notes. Also, avoid printing the syllabi or assignment sheets when possible, as they are usually accessible online. Other paper-saving tips include: printing double-sided and reducing margins to fit more text per page.

  • A great way to reduce energy consumption on campus is to head outside and utilize natural light. Grab a blanket and study outdoors or read next to a window instead of under a lamp. Consider turning the lights off in your dorm room whenever you aren't there.

  • Combat the mid-afternoon slump with a snack. Pack yours in reusable containers and buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste. At mealtime, help offset the estimated 70 billion pounds of food waste generated in the U.S. annually by only taking food you will eat.

  • Before bed, unplug electronic devices to decrease energy usage, as many appliances/electronics use a small amount of energy even when powered off. Use a power strip for your electronics, so you only have one thing to unplug each night.

For information on green initiatives happening on your campus, contact your college's Office of Sustainability.

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Tags: Green Tips

Eco-Friendly College Prep

August 05, 2016 ·

This post was written by LCSWMA’s summer communications intern, Karissa. She will be a sophomore at Emory University this fall.

By this point in the summer, many high school grads are thinking about their move to college. Transitioning to university life can be intimidating and scary. One aspect on students’ minds is how to adjust to dorm living, and how to make a 12x12 foot room feel like home. It’s comforting to know, however, amidst the unknowns of moving to college, how to decorate your dorm room is something you have absolute control over.

The first piece of advice I share with incoming students is to pack light. You may find five matching throw pillows that flawlessly compliment your comforter, but most of the time those pillows will end up on the floor. Pack the essentials first and wait until you arrive in your new space to buy the rest.

If you find yourself in desperate need of something, find a ride (most likely your university will provide shuttles) to a store and stock up after you know what you need.

Designing a space that is all yours is exciting. Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks and secrets to designing a cozy and eco-friendly space:

1.Organize for Sanity
I’ve found being organized helps keep my sanity during exam weeks. Desk organizers are easy to make and inexpensive, plus you probably have all the materials. Eco Bonus: Reuse honey jars, cans and other containers for this project. Check it out here.

2.Decorate for Inspiration
Dorm walls are notoriously ugly and plain. Fortunately, Pinterest is a great resource for creative inspiration including a multitude of ideas for personalizing those four walls. One of my favorite Pinterest finds is decorating with tissue-paper garland. Eco Bonus: I made one of these for my dorm last year using left-over tissue paper from the holidays. I saved extra wrapping and transformed it into a free, eco-friendly and adorable decoration instead of throwing it away.

3.Get Crafty
Fall in love with mason jars. They are versatile and can hold snacks, drinks, pens, plants, candles, or just about anything you’d like. Eco Bonus: Mason jars easily replace plastic or paper cups and bowls, reducing unnecessary waste. Also, there are countless ways to paint or decorate mason jars if you’re planning to display them. Check out this article for great crafting ideas.

4.Create a Living Space
Plants add an organic element to spaces, which makes a big difference in lifeless dorms. I personally love succulents. Although they do need sunlight, they hardly need to be watered and can survive in any container, like this adorable coffee pot terrarium. Eco Bonus: I know you’ve got your eye on a new Keurig, so why not upcycle that old coffee pot instead of trashing it? “Upcycling” is when you transform items that would otherwise be garbage into something new. It’s a great way to reuse items not otherwise “recyclable.”

5.Look Up
Dorms have limited floor space for dressers and organizers, so consider ways you can use vertical space in your room for decoration or storage. Eco Bonus: If you’re feeling handy, check out this DIY rope shelf. It’s chic and can be made out of materials you have at home.

6.Make it Social
Instead of purchasing new items, host a clothing swap party to trade items you don’t wear anymore. Eco Bonus: According to the EPA, approximately 11 million tons of old clothing and textiles end up in U.S. landfills each year — nearly all of which can be reused or recycled. If you still have items left over, donate instead of trashing them.

I hope these tips inspire you to incorporate stylish yet sustainable ideas into your dorm décor. If your college days are in the past, these tips work well for offices or other small spaces too.

Tags: Green Tips