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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Environmentalism: It’s easy being green

Environmentalism: Its easy being green

Being more environmentally friendly cuts down on waste and pollution, helps the planet be healthier and saves money and energy, according to Diana Liverman, co-director for the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth.

“”We need to care about the earth because we only get one.?Just like the old cleaning adage, we should leave the planet better than when we found it.?Our children will thank us,”” said Jill Ramirez, coordinator of sustainability education for residential education.

If you’d like to save money and live greener, here are five tips.

Don’t just recycle, Terracycle

In every residence hall, there are Terracycle bins. Terracycle is an organization that collects wrappers that normally would not be recycled and turns them into eco-friendly products.

Ramirez said some of the items they collect are Lays chip bags, Mars candy wrappers, Nabisco cookie wrappers, and foil-lined energy bar wrappers.

“”Buy products that have wrappers that can be Terracycled, and keep many snack food wrappers out of the trash,”” said Kenneth Armstrong, residence life recycling coordinator.

You can also purchase eco-friendly school supplies and other items made from Terracycled products on the Terracycle website.

Buy a reusable water bottle

Having a reusable water bottle on hand will make it easy to stay hydrated, cut costs on bottled water and help the environment.

“”Reusable water bottles, and purchasing water in five gallon containers can keep the amount of plastic bottles that need to be recycled to a minimum,”” Armstrong said.

Americans spent $11 billion on water bottles and threw out 22 billion water bottles in 2006, according to Ramirez.

Be aware of packaging

When buying new swag for your dorm room, Armstrong says it is important to keep in mind the packaging on the products you buy.

“”There are some things they (students) purchase like heavy comforters that come in bags that are really heavy but they aren’t recyclable,”” Armstrong said.

The residence halls will also be doing a big cardboard collection during move in.

“”We set up orange temporary fencing outside all of the halls to compute the massive amounts of cardboard coming from move-in,”” Ramirez said.?””Last year, we recycled just over 10 tons of cardboard in 10 days.? The best way people can help is to empty their boxes before they take them to the recycling location; Styrofoam and plastic packaging are not recyclable.””

Think about how you travel

“”Fly less or offset your flights,”” Liverman said.

Liverman also suggested using a bike to get around campus.

For longer distance traveling around Tucson, UA Parking and Transportation offers a discounted Sun Tran bus pass called the U-Pass, which can be purchased for the semester, the academic school year or for the entire year. The discount covers 50 percent of the cost of a regular bus pass.

Get involved

You can help organize green events and brainstorm ideas on how to make your residence hall a greener place by running to be an eco-rep or director of sustainability in the hall council of the residence hall where you live. Elections are held at the beginning of the fall semester.

You can also just keep your ears open and attend the events planned by your resident eco-reps.

“”Take an environmental course to become more aware,”” Liverman suggested. “”UA has numerous environmental classes and there are events on campus every week.””

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