For many people, dorms are the first small home away from family. Dorms also have some green qualities - university housing usually provides compact community living for large groups of people. Still, the standard-issue spaces aren't usually at the forefront of environmentally conscious living, and many of them could use some greening. Click below for 8 ways to green your dorm (or even your small-space apartment):
How To Green Your Dorm Room:
• Moving: When moving in, use reusable packing materials. Transport clothes and other items in laundry baskets, bags, or suitcases. If you need to use cardboard boxes, break them down for recycling after the move.
• Electronics: Dorm rooms are usually stuffed to the brim with electronics: computers, printers, iPods, sound systems, and TVs. When buying new electronics, look for energy-star-certified electronics and turn them off when you leave the room. If you have a tendency to leave things on, plug those items into one power strip that you can turn off when you leave the room.
• Mini-Fridge: If you're bringing a mini-fridge into the dorm, buy one with a high energy star rating. You can also look for tips on how to green your refrigerator here.
• Furniture and Decorations: When buying new furniture and decorations, look for items that are second-hand, recycled, or made from sustainable processes. Stay away from typical particleboard dorm furniture, which usually contains formaldehyde and other chemicals that can off-gas and pollute indoor air. For tips of how to shop for eco-friendly wood furniture, see this post.
• Air Quality: Improve your dorm room's air by adding some green plants to help absorb unwanted airborne gases and using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air purifier. For more tips on improving indoor air quality, click here.
• Bedding: Buy organic bedding that hasn't been processed with harmful chemicals. For a few options, click here, here, and here.
• Shower: Take shorter showers by using these tips from Re-Nest. For shower supplies, use organic products with minimal packaging.
• Lighting: Change out standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights, both of which consume less energy and last longer than standard bulbs.
Photo: Dorm Rooms by Nervous in the Service