Living green in college


Alex Huerta/ The JTAC

The Tarleton community garden located next to the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center.

Living a green lifestyle is something that I strive for every day. It is not about being perfect in every decision you make, but it is about being conscious in the decisions you are making and how it affects the environment around us.

Essentially, living green means making lifestyle decisions and engaging in practices which reduce negative impact on and promote the health of the planet and its creatures.

Recent trends suggest that more people are living a green life. A growing number of colleges and universities are seeking ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, many with energy-efficient facilities and construction projects. This is a trend that has been happening for the past couple years, more people are trying to incorporate changes in their lifestyle to positively affect the environment according to Green America.

Living green can be through actions like recycling, growing a garden or using less plastic. This can be something as easy as choosing a canned soda over a plastic bottled soda since, cans have on average 68% recycled content compared to just 3% for plastic, the United States Environmental Protection Agency data shows.

Although the impact of climate change might not be easily seen the planet is already suffering from existing and irreversible damage.

The way we treat the planet and its natural resources can have a significant impact on our daily lives. Even if we don’t immediately notice the effects, it will have huge repercussions on the lives of future generations.

Ways to positively influence the environment on a college campus are riding your bike to campus, paying attention to packaging and plastic in what you buy. When shopping bring your own bag or just don’t take a bag.

Most times when purchasing items from a store they automatically give you a plastic bag, if you are buying just one item you don’t need to take a bag just ask for no bag or ask for a paper bag. Many stores also have a charge for plastic bags so if you start bringing your own bag you will not get charged a bag fee.

Reuse old water bottles or purchase water bottles that you can refill instead of tossing out a new bottle every time you need to quench your thirst. Tarleton has water fountains across campus for students so we are able to fill up our water bottles. According to The Water Project, it’s estimated that up to 80% of water bottles in the United States never get recycled. In addition, it takes three times the amount of water that’s in a water bottle to create the bottle in the first place.

Tarleton has its own recycling center, they accept various items from:

  • Paper: office paper, computer paper, envelopes, fax paper, paper ream wrappers, newspapers, all shredded paper, all magazines and books, including phone books, file folders (manila or pastel), and all cardboard.
  • Plastic: clear water and soft drink bottles, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, clear, black and white trash bags.
  • Metal: aluminum cans, tin cans (food must be rinsed out), scrap metal, and copper.
  • Miscellaneous: automotive batteries, electric motors, hot water heaters, all appliances (Freon gas must be removed).

A list of items they accept can be found on their website, recycling. Recycling products can be dropped off at, the Recycle Center, located at the University Farm passed the horse pens.

In 2018 the Tarleton recycling center has kept 566,078 pounds of recycling out of landfills from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018.

If you’re going to give brands you’re support through purchasing their products, read labels carefully. Look for beauty and cleaning products brands that are responsible in their production by looking for responsible brand seals.

If your house or apartment is close enough to walk or bike from safely, do it! It is a great way to get a bit of exercise and to wake up a bit more before class.

Being a smart consumer is very influential on the environment but now is the time in college to take some classes or join a club to become educated about the environment and sustainability. Tarleton offers a wide variety of classes that teach about sustainable practices and the environment. Talk to your adviser to see if one of these courses might be an option for you.

Tarleton is doing their part in being a green campus. Tarleton entered into a five year contract starting Sept. 1, 2016 and ending Aug. 31, 2021 which ensures that 15% of the total electricity provided to Tarleton State University will be produced by renewable sources like wind power. This is just another reason to be a proud Texan.

We all need to work together; change doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Go for small changes and for the little wins. Know that the things you do will add up to have a bigger impact.