Sustainable Shopping?

Dorm RoomNew to SLU? First time at college living on your own? Moving from a full-sized house or apartment into single room living for the first time usually results in the purchase of new things. St. Lawrence has created this guide to help you make environmentally responsible choices when shopping for college.

Reduce, reuse, purchase sustainable products.

Concerned about climate change? Want to reduce your carbon emissions? St. Lawrence has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory finding that our largest single source of global warming pollution is heating, followed by electricity and transportation. As a student your personal choices can really help reduce both electricity and transportation emissions.

Here's how...

Electricity Reduction

If you are buying a new TV, DVD player, computer, microwave or refrigerator to bring to college consider picking one that uses 10-50% less energy. How do you know which models these are? Look for the ENERGY STAR logo.

There are less options for compact refrigerators so if you are buying new try to purchase one of the following models. Note that many brands sell both models that are labeled ENERGY STAR and those that aren't, pay specific attention to the model number and always look for the ENERGY STAR logo. MicroFridge; Danby Millennium.

Although purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances is an assured way to save energy, remember that not having one of these products is even better. Many dorms have a shared refrigerator in a common area and there are many televisions in lounges or the student center, perhaps you don't need your own? Alternatively, although we tend to focus on the greenhouse gas emissions from use of these products, remember that their production also creates emissions and their disposal adds to our landfills. If you decide not to purchase an ENERGY STAR appliance and you still want to have one of these items, consider purchasing used.

Although purchasing ENERGY STAR products are guaranteed to save energy they are expensive.  There are many inexpensive energy saving products. Such as...

Many people use powerstrips as a way to plug in more electronic devices, but they are good for saving electricity too! Did you know that many appliances and other electronic devices draw current even when they are turned off? This is called phantom load. These appliances include (but are NOT limited to) computers, microwaves, stereos, TVs, cell phones, camera and I-pod chargers and gaming systems. Unplugging them from the wall when not in use or plugging them into a powerstrip and turning off the powerstrip will stop phantom load. Perhaps the most important energy saving device you can bring with you to college, but remember you have to get in the habit of flipping that switch!  Can’t remember to turn it off?  Try a SmartStrip.

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb)
Perhaps the second most important energy saving purchase you can make before moving into your new home. These light bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than the standard incandescent light bulb. You'll only need to buy one for each of your desk, bed or floor lamps, they'll last you all four years at college! If you really want to save energy, try LEDs.

We all know that vehicles contribute to the amount of carbon dioxide in the air (about ¼ of our emissions) and while you might like the convenience of getting to and from school with your own car, a bike comes in handy around campus and for town use. Don't have a bike and don't want to get one, not to worry St. Lawrence has a bike rental system.

Other things you shouldn't forget:

Reusable mug/bottle
Not only do you reduce greenhouse gasses by preventing one more disposable cup from being produced, you also help reduce inputs to the landfill. Not only that, but at SLU you get a discount on hot beverages and fountain drinks when you bring your own mug/bottle and we have a few hydration stations to fill your bottles with filtered water.

Reusable bag
Need to pick up some groceries? Buying your books? Get into the habit of carrying a reusable bag to take to the cafe, bookstore, grocery store or downtown. Reduce those emissions and landfill waste.

Worried about what your textiles are doing to the soil, water and local flora and fauna? There are many sustainable options for sheets, rugs and curtains. Organic fibers are becoming increasingly common and their purchase comes with the knowledge that toxic chemicals were not added to the earth during the production of your new product. Hemp and bamboo are also gaining praise as sustainable fibers as they produce a large output per acre and grow rapidly.

Poke around the web or stores in your local town, not only can you find organic fibers, you can also find companies that recycle materials (wool and cotton rugs are common) and that have fair labor practices.


To print a list of these items, download the PDF below.

SLU Green Shopping List.pdf241.8 KB