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10 Sustainable Ways to Green Your Semester

Published August 3, 2018

Check out these quick and easy tips for a sustainable semester and school year!

The fall semester is just around the corner (August 27th to be exact), which means it’s time for your back-to-school-supplies haul! Before you scramble over to Target or Staples for some last minute essentials, check out these quick and easy tips for a sustainable semester. The environment and your wallet will thank you!

Tip #1: Stop Before You Shop

shopping iconBefore you go on your back-to-school supplies haul, take a quick inventory of items you already have. Once you’ve narrowed down the list of “must haves,” try buying from brands that offer products made from post-consumer or recycled materials. If store shopping isn’t your thing, you can take advantage of the Student Swap Shop program on campus, where you can swap unused or old school supplies for ones you do need. Being mindful of your shopping needs will not only help reduce unnecessary waste, but also excess spending. 


Tip #2: Go Reusable, Even When On-the-Go

shopping iconWhether it’s packing a zero waste lunch or skipping the straw, there are many ways to be an eco-conscious foodie when dining on and off campus. Don’t have reusable items? Don’t worry, the 49ers shops bookstore and Associated Students Inc. sell reusable water bottles and other reusable items for as low as $2. You can also feed your inner eco-warrior when eating out by swapping single-use plastics for reusable items such as reusable bottles, cloth napkins, reusable straws and bamboo/metal utensils. 


Tip #3: Cooking on Meatless Mondays (or Every Day)

shopping iconHungry? Cook up a storm by adding Meatless Mondays to your weekly meal plan. From eggplant parmigiana to soyrizo tacos, decreasing the amount of meat in your diet will not only help the environment, but also your wallet. If you need some inspiration for delicious, plant-based recipes, Minimalist Baker and Oh My Veggies are some of our go-to favorites! 


Tip #4: Green Your Gear

shopping iconDonating unneeded clothing, swapping clothing, or choosing reused or sustainable material clothing are all great ways to be a conscious consumer in the chaos of a linear economy. The ASI Recycling Center  on campus accepts clothes donations for students and the homeless population. Need more of an incentive? Major fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s offer in-store discounts for every time you in bring your donated clothing. 


Tip #5: Be E-nvironmentally Conscious

shopping iconSave some cash while helping the environment! Consider buying refurbished electronics to reduce landfill waste and unnecessary e-waste. If you have old electronics you no longer need, find your local e-waste center to properly dispose of them.



Tip #6: Be Green on the Go

shopping iconThere are many sustainable ways to avoid the dreaded parking struggle on campus. Try taking the bus, walking, or riding a Long Beach Bike Share bike. Plus, every student enrolled at CSULB automatically gets a U-Pass Tap sticker for unlimited free rides on all Long Beach Transit buses. So no matter if you bike, walk, or bus to campus, you are helping reduce air pollution and save gas money! Want more options? CSULB offers many sustainable transportation options including EV charging stations, carpool programs, campus shuttles and more


Tip #7: Text You Later

shopping iconBefore logging on to Amazon, try renting your textbooks or buying them used from the 49ers Bookstore. This helps reduce the amount of books being printed and in turn, helps save trees (oxygen, people). Rental or used books are also often cheaper than buying new textbooks!



Tip #8: Car Puns Are Exhausting

shopping iconRemember to turn the engine off while waiting in your car for class to start. Although it might be tempting to wait in your air conditioned car, idling contributes to harmful smog and air pollution in the environment. 



Tip #9: Recycle When You Can't Go Reusable

shopping iconIf you simply cannot switch to reusable just yet (we hope you do!), another sustainable option is to properly recycle items like plastic water bottles and other recyclable items. This helps divert recyclable material that otherwise would have gone to the landfill and in turn, helps preserve our finite, natural resources. Be on the lookout for our new Waste Not zero waste stations being installed throughout campus to help sort your waste. Learn more about this upcoming, campus-wide waste diversion program by visiting the Waste Not website. 


Tip #10: Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

shopping iconSelf-care is not self-indulgence, it’s self-respect. Take a step back, turn off all digital devices, and be present with the beauty of nature. Connecting with the environment is a great way to maintain mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Whether you decide to hike with friends, stroll down the beach or bike through your city, remember to nurture your inner eco-warrior. 


Tag us on social media!

Encourage your friends and classmates to green their semester! 

Share a photo or video of you following one (or more) of the tips above and tag us on Instagram (CSULB_Sustainability), Twitter (@CSULB_Sustain), and/or Facebook (@CSULBSustainability) or use the hastag #LB4Sustainability.

Here's to greening every semester to come. Go Beach!