Day to Day
Food and Water
Drinking a ton of water is extremely important when you are learning and/or stressed out from learning. In either case, carrying a reusable water bottle around with you while on campus will save you $$$ and the environment. Most students are familiar now with the many environmental issues associated with single use plastic water bottles (if not click here and here) but many don’t stop to think about how much money is wasted on them as well. A 500 ml single use plastic water bottle costs $1.50 at the University of San Diego while refilling a 1 L reusable water bottle at the drinking fountain is free! How many liters do you drink a day? Just be cautious of reusable plastic bottles, which may contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical. It’s better to stick with metal ones such as Klean Kanteen or Sigg. Or for a really cheap but healthy alternative to plastic and metal, buy juice in a glass bottle with a screw on top (usually 1 liter) from a health food store and just rinse it and reuse it…after enjoying the juice, of course.
Are you one who cooks extra large dinners just so you have left overs for lunch the next day? If so make sure to pack your lunch in a washable and reusable lunch bag, not a single use plastic or paper one. When you are looking for a good reusable lunch bag make sure it is PVC-free and avoid vinyl since it has been shown to contain harmful levels of lead. Thermally insulated lunch bags made from recycled juice boxes or organic cotton are great and will keep your lunch cooler for longer. To keep them extra cold try freezing water or juice in a reusable container and storing it in the bag. Instead of using throw-away plastic ziploc bags or cling-wrap for sandwiches and snacks, use reusable plastic containers. The Laptop Lunch box system is also a great choice as it already includes individual containers and drink holders.
Believe it or not, this new movement has led to a drastic reduction in food waste and water usage, from the rinsing of the trays, and universities that have adopted this policy have saved substantial amounts of money. Sarah Whately of Skidmore College sums up this new method of reducing food waste, “…you actually eat what you want rather than what you see.” So when you hit the cafeteria, just start out with one plate and see where it takes you.
and Our Planet!
For snacks stick with fruit like bananas and oranges since they come pre-wrapped in biodegradable wrapping! Try to lay off individually wrapped items like fruit bars because of the excessive amounts of waste they generate. If you get sick of bananas and oranges try veggies like carrots and celery, which are easy to pack, and maybe a couple slices of cheese. If you are a chip lover, buy a large bag of organic healthy chips from a health food store, and bring your daily dose to school in a reusable plastic container. This cuts down on the amount of plastic that hits the landfill when all is said and done. For larger meals eat at organic spots on and off campus, no matter how few there may be. They taste better, are better for you, and eventually your university and the neighboring businesses will catch on to the increase in demand and more will begin to pop up.