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Settle in Sustainably

Settle in Sustainably

Posted by Lea Dyga on Aug 26th 2019

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again! Students have flocked back to East Lansing, and moved in to their new digs. Whether you're a student staying in a residence hall or renting a place off campus, these zero waste tips and tricks will help you settle in more sustainably.

Boxes, Boxes and More Boxes!

Over the weekend, we partnered with the residence halls to maximize waste diversion by having expanded recycling collection sites in every neighborhood. Thank you to everyone who flattened your boxes before bringing them to us! Sometimes it takes a while to entirely unpack, so as you chip away at your boxes, make sure you reuse or recycle that cardboard. You can offer up your boxes to others who are moving by posting on Craigslist or Freecycle, or bring them to the recycling station at your hall or our 24/7 Drop-Off Center. It's tempting to quickly toss everything in the garbage, but you'll feel better if you unpack with a bit of patience. 

Set Up a Recycling Station

Make it easy to recycle! Set your bin or bag right next to your waste basket. Create a multi-stream collection system, with multiple bins for different materials, and cut down on future sorting time. If your roommates aren't used to recycling, consider making a sign that lists what can go in each bin. Then, when you see them toss something in, tell them you -- and the sea turtles -- appreciate it! 

Discounted Décor 

Chances are you want to spruce up your space. Don’t rush to Target or load up your Amazon cart just yet. Check around secondhand stores like the MSU Surplus Store to purchase sustainable décor for a fraction of the cost. At the Surplus Store, we have a bounty of artwork, mirrors, picture frames, other unique decorations, plus the must-have item for this big campus -- bikes!

Say Goodbye to Bottles

It’s important to keep hydrated during those late-night study sessions, but we’re not about that bottled water life. A lot of college students invest in water filter pitchers to keep their hydration station sustainable. Investing in a water filter can keep you from purchasing plastic water bottles, but keep in mind, water filters aren't perfect. Those disposable cartridges can make a lot of waste. Look into purchasing a refillable cartridge, like the Clear Genius filter which fits in most Brita and PUR filters. If you’ve already invested in plastic cartridges, you can look for cartridge recycling like Brita’s partnership with TerraCyle

Celebrate with Us!

The MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center is celebrating our 10th anniversary this September! On Thursday, Sept. 5, from 3-5 p.m. join us for a special screening of the documentary, Salvage, which follows a group of thrifty locals in Yellowknife, British Columbia, as they band together trying to save the town dump’s open salvage. The film will be shown right in our materials recovery facility, and the director will join us for a Q&A session. 

We're also hosting a Zero Waste Tailgate before the MSU vs. Western Michigan University game, Saturday, Sept. 7, from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Join us for upcycled yard games, a zero waste craft booth, and good company. Bring your family & friends, your favorite food & drink, and your reusable, recyclable or compostable cups, plates, utensils, etc. In exchange for going green, we offer:

  • one free parking space
  • access to indoor restrooms
  • tours of our facility
  • upcycled yard games
  • DIY zero waste craft booth
  • Walk to the stadium (20 mins.) or catch the bus at the nearby Commuter Lot

A zero waste lifestyle requires ongoing conscious effort, but we’re here to answer questions, provide recycling tips and help shift your mindset. Over time, you can make sustainable living second nature!