Newswise — Back-to-school time means Target, Lands End, Wal-Mart and other megastores devoting entire sections to helping freshmen furnish their college residence hall room. And colleges typically provide "must-have" lists for incoming students to bring on such shopping sprees. The result -- on move-in day, the vans arrive on campus laden with electronic devices, appliances and other furnishings.
But St. Lawrence University, in Canton, New York, offers an alternative " a green alternative. The University is a leader in the campus sustainability movement, and has developed a different kind of shopping list for new students, especially those 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. Here's more:
The Green Shopping List
"¢ Only purchase 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, so be sure you buy MicroFridge, Danby Millenium (DAR254, DAR482)."¢ Of course, not having one of these products is even better -- most dorms have common area TVs and refrigerators"¢ 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" of 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 unplug 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. Make sure the desk lamp you bring with you uses the compact bulbs."¢ We love our cars, but a bike comes in handy around campus and for town use. St. Lawrence's library loans 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. "¢ Use organic fibers for your sheets, rugs and curtains produced without toxic chemicals. Hemp and bamboo fiber are becoming more popular. And many of the companies using organic fibers recycle and use fair labor practices.
St. Lawrence's green shopping list is available on its Web site for students to print out and take with them when shopping.
Note that the University is not endorsing any particular vendor or products. It is offering advice to students about what "green" shopping means, and what to look for.