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Going Green for College
Each year, the average American uses approximately 680 pounds of paper. Collectively as a nation that is 85 million tons annually. Our constant need to write term papers and essays as
college students only further increases our paper usage. With the Earth's depleting ozone layer and high levels of pollution, something has to be done. Recycling and going green are simple lifestyle changes that make a positive difference.

With nearly 2,000 Cal State Long Beach students living on campus and countless others residing in neighboring communities, being eco-friendly is essential to keeping our school and environment clean. It might feel like a burden to buy green products, but these items are becoming more affordable and easier to find.

As "Joe Green" enters CSULB as an incoming freshman, he decides he wants to make his new place away from home eco-friendly. Every year, students buy new, stylish d¨¦cor for their dorms and college apartments, but why should they not get it for free? The Freecycle Network is a non-profit organization that promotes giving away items, rather than allowing them to consume space in our already jam-packed landfills. These networks are led by local volunteers, membership is absolutely free and you can log on to www.freecycle.org to check out the Long Beach network.

If you want to purchase new products, do some eco-friendly shopping with 3R Living - a company filled with environment friendly products ranging from kitchen necessities to jewelry. Check out their retro handbags made from mesh billboard or wall tiles made of recycled paper at www.3rliving.com.

After a long day of classes, Mr. Green looks forward to coming home to a nice comfy bed. Bed Bath and Beyond carries a collection of comforters, sheets and pillow cases in a variety of colors created with organic cotton. Or if Joe needs to study for his pop quizzes and midterms, he can make sure his desk area is environmentally safe by using the Smart Strip by SmartHomeUSA or changing his light bulbs. The Smart Strip is an eco-friendly surge protector that detects when your plugged-in items are not in use, like your laptop, lamps and other office related items, and turns them off for you. It costs only $25 and is said to pay for itself within six weeks of use. For ecological light bulbs, Joe can try Target's GE Energy Smart 13-Watt Instant On Light Bulbs. This bulb has an expected lifetime of 6,000 hours while being Energy Star qualified for using less energy than your average incandescent light bulb.

Even Joe Green's bathroom essentials can be eco-friendly. By purchasing organic cotton towels and rags, you can reduce exposure to pesticides and cancer-causing chemicals used to create regular cotton. Even organic shower products can be more beneficial to Joe. Organic soap uses all natural ingredients, which greatly reduce the chance of irritations. Check out 3R Living's hemp wash mitts or lemon sage organic deodorant, or visit Trader Joe's, located on Bellflower Boulevard, for more organic body care options.

While stores can easily restock on products, there is one essential necessity to everyday life that cannot be as easily restocked - water. Water is consumed at a faster rate than can be restored so conservation is critical.

Joe Green is guilty of taking long showers, but by cutting down his time in the bathroom, he can save approximately two to five gallons of water per minute. Don't let the faucet run when you're not using the water, only use your dishwasher or washing machine for full loads and use a water purifier instead of buying plastic bottles. Did you know it takes 26 times more water to make the plastic bottle than the bottle contains?

What could be more important to a college student than education? The answer: food. Companies like Wal-Mart are making it easier for Joe to green his kitchen by purchasing eco-friendly cookware sets that are biodegradable, PTFE-free and can be recycled after use. PTFE is a base compound for nonstick formulas; when food preparation is at extremely high temperatures, it can release harmful fumes to the environment.

Joe can also green his kitchen by altering some typical cooking habits. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "microwave ovens use a lot of energy when operating, but because cooking times are so drastically reduced, using a microwave to prepare a meal will reduce energy use by about two-thirds compared to a conventional oven." Joe Green can also get an Energy Star refrigerator, which reduces a refrigerator's energy usage by 20 percent. These products can all be found at neighborhood stores like Target or Wal-Mart.

Not only can college students purchase green products, there are some easy alternatives in everyday life that can better the environment. The most important lifestyle change is recycling. By recycling glass bottles, plastic bottles, cardboard, newspapers and other such recyclable items, we can lessen the amount of waste in landfills. Luckily, CSULB has the ASI Recycling Center located on Atherton Street in our parking lot. Why not get paid for making the world a better place?

"For the 12-month period ending 6/30/08, the ASI Recycling Center recycled 1,787,080 pounds of material," said Lee Johnson, coordinator of the ASI Recycling Center. "Our paper recycling during the 12-month period saved 8,477 trees."

And lastly, change your means of transportation by dusting off that bicycle and start pedaling. If Mr. Joe Green rides his bike he will not create any ozone emissions and get exercise. If that's not convincing, remember the rising price of gas and consider carpooling or using public transit systems.

Not only will these alternative modes of transportation improve the air, but you can also receive points via CSULB's RideShare Program. Just submit an application indicating whether you ride your bike, carpool/vanpool or ride the bus, and you can receive points each day to qualify you for a Beach Buck Drawing. But if riding a bike or public transportation is not an option, try to fill up your tank after 5 p.m. to reduce the fumes emitted during the hottest times of the day.

Decorate your dorm with recycled newspaper vases and bamboo folding chairs, stock your closet with organic clothing like ecoKashmere and hemp linen (we recommend Jonano Eco Chic Collections at www.jonano.com) and utilize a few of the aforementioned lifestyle changes to make a difference in the environment. When you are doing your back to school shopping for this year, reconsider some of your normal purchases and take some time to green up you life - it's easy as University 100.
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