— Many campuses are going bottled-water free. Use a reusable mug or bottle. Check for bottles that are BPA and PCB free. Tap water is often subjected to more stringent water testing standards than bottled water.
— If you forget your reusable mug, find a place where you can recycle your cup. Many urban centres have special recycling programs for Styrofoam and coffee cups.
— Choose soap products (such as shampoos, conditioners, dish soaps and laundry detergents) that are phosphate free. Phosphates are not only bad for you but also hard on the environment. Too much phosphate in lakes and rivers contributes to algae blooms that are choking up our beaches.
— Unplug your computer charger, phone charger and other electronic devices when not in use. When you leave them plugged in they still use energy, even if they aren't doing anything. Set your computer to "sleep mode" instead of using a screensaver. This saves battery power and the environment.
— See if your city has green initiatives you can take advantage of. For instance, Toronto has a Live Green card which offers deals at local restaurants and shops that have local, sustainable and/or organic products.
— Most fruits and vegetables travel between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres before they reach your plate. Buying locally is a great sustainable decision, so check out neighbourhood markets for cheeses, meats, fruits, vegetables and baked goods.
— Why stop there? Do your part by drinking great local beer and wines. Craft breweries and small wineries are popping up all over. You'll be reducing your ecological footprint while discovering all your region has to offer.
— Volunteer. Make a community impact. Your new neighbourhood is likely home to many great philanthropic efforts. Find the one that's right for you and make your community more livable.
Source: Ryerson University Digital Media Zone, http://digitalmediazone.ryerson.ca/newsroom/back-to-school/.