On many campuses, the opening of school can be a very wasteful time. Cardboard boxes, Styrofoam packing materials, and heaps of unanticipated duplicates end up in huge piles of trash outside residence halls and apartments – not a very sustainable way to start the year.
Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, director of sustainability at Wake Forest University, offers these simple suggestions to achieve a “greener” move-in by doing more with less.
1. When shopping for school supplies, look for paper, pens, and notebooks with post-consumer recycled content. Consider re-using a backpack from last year. Upperclassmen will be re-using their bags – you won’t be alone.
2. Investigate whether your new campus offers a car-sharing program, like Zipcar. You may be able to avoid the expense and hassle of having a car on campus. If your family is accompanying you to move-in, you can take one car.
3. Find out what will be waiting for you when you arrive. Some campuses have offices of sustainability or sustainability-related student groups who will outfit you with re-usable shopping bags, recycling bins, and sometimes even re-usable water bottles.
4. Pack clothes, shoes, and sheets in re-usable plastic crates or even pillow cases.
5. Wrap picture frames and other breakables in T-shirts, or towels. Sandwich larger items like framed posters between pillows, blankets or comforters, and tie it all up with re-usable twine or an extension cord.
6. Pack school supplies in re-usable file crates with handles. The crates will come in handy for organizing schoolwork throughout the semester.
7. Contact roommates before packing to avoid unnecessary duplicates like area rugs, tool kits, televisions or toaster ovens.
8. Put toiletries in sturdy-handled shower baskets and re-usable zip-top bags, all of which can fit neatly into a laundry basket.
9. Recycle any boxes you do bring on move-in day, especially new product cartons and packaging, by taking them to a designated collection site. Most campuses recycle cardboard, and some collect Styrofoam packaging.
10. Remember to pack enough re-usable water bottles for everyone helping with the move. Move-in day is usually among the hottest of the year.