St. Lawrence Offers 'Green' Back-to-School List

St. Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y., offers a green alternative to buying supplies and tools for back to school shopping trips. The university has developed a list for new students especially interested in living an environmentally responsible lifestyle.

The first thing suggested? Don't buy so much stuff. Students can start their eco-aware lives at college by sharing items with their roommates.

The Go-To-School Green List:

  • Try to find "Energy Star"-logo TVs, DVD players, computers, and microwaves because they use 10 to 50 percent less energy. There are fewer options for compact refrigerators; look for MicroFridge, Danby Millenium (DAR254, DAR482). Of course, not having one of these products is even better -- most residence halls have common area TVs, refrigerators, and other appliances. If you must buy one of these items, but don't want to purchase an "Energy Star" item, consider a used model. The production of new models adds to carbon emissions, too.
  • Mind the "phantom load" -- computers, gaming systems, stereos, TVs, cell phones, cameras, and iPod chargers that draw electricity even when turned off. Unplug them when not in use or plug them all into a power strip and turn off the strip when not using them. Flipping that switch off is probably the most important energy-saving measure you can take.
  • Buy only compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
  • Ride a bike comes around campus and for town use. (St. Lawrence's library lends out bikes, just like books).
  • Bring your own reusable mug/coffee cup. Some schools, like St. Lawrence, offer free refills on beverages, and help reduce disposable cup production. Bring reusable bags to carry books, groceries, and other items you buy.
  • Look for sheets, rugs and curtains produced without toxic chemicals and made of organic materials. Hemp and bamboo fiber are becoming more popular. And many of the companies using organic fibers recycle and use fair labor practices.
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