Sustainable habits are good for the planet, but many also offer excellent ways to save money. The Environmental Center (E-Center) connects students to various resources, programs and workshops that promote sustainable living. Incorporating environmentally friendly habits doesn't have to require significant changes. Small actions can make a big difference.
Choose sustainable transportation options to get around campus or the city of Boulder for free while also saving money on parking and gas.
- Take the bus. CU Boulder’s Buff Buses offer routes connecting central campus to Williams Village, Bear Creek and east campus. No pass is needed! Your College Pass gives you free access to RTD bus and rail routes, including routes to Denver International Airport. Ride the Ski Bus for an affordable and efficient way to get to ski resorts on the weekends.
- Ride a bike. If you have a bike, register at one of the CU Boulder bike stations, where you can receive free maintenance service. You can also borrow an e-bike with a free membership to Boulder BCycle for CU students.
- Go on foot. Boulder is a walkable city both on and off campus. Remember to use crosswalks, sidewalks and paths to avoid safety hazards. Learn more about tips for walking in Boulder.
- Catch an evening ride. CU NightRide offers free transportation in the city of Boulder and on campus. The fleet includes four alternative fuel vehicles to give students a safe and sustainable ride.
Food and meal preparation
The cost of food has increased, impacting budgets and nutrition. Introducing sustainable practices into your food purchases and preparations can save you money and help the planet.
- Support zero-waste grocery stores and shops. Buying in bulk reduces packaging that ends up in landfills and typically costs less than prepacked items. Boulder offers many local shops with bulk products.
- Plan meals before you shop. Make a meal plan before shopping for groceries and stick to your list. You can avoid buying products you don’t need, which reduces food waste and saves money.
- Eat less meat. Try incorporating meatless meals or days into your weekly meal plan. Typically meat products cost more and produce more carbon emissions. When you eat less meat, you can reduce your carbon footprint and grocery bill.
- Use your leftovers. Eating leftovers can save money on food costs by avoiding waste. Also, food accounts for around 20% of landfill waste, which makes eating leftovers a sustainable choice.
- Compost instead of throwing food in the garbage. If you are part of Boulder’s "Pay-As-You-Throw" system, you can reduce your trash bill by composting. Remember to follow composting guidelines to help avoid contamination in composting bins.
Energy and water efficiency
Practicing energy and water conservation for students living off campus translates to utility cost savings. Students living on campus can also benefit by learning good habits before moving off campus.
- Schedule an EcoVisit. The E-Center offers expert tips for students living on or off campus. EcoVisits promote sustainability, including improved energy efficiency, air quality and more. Students receive an EcoKit with useful items like recycling bins, LED bulbs, bike lights, reusable bags and more.
- Save water. Implement water-saving practices, like using a shower timer, regularly checking for leaks, only washing full loads of clothes or dishes and other sustainable practices. Even small changes can add up to considerable monthly savings.
- Use less energy. Shift your energy use to save money while lowering your carbon footprint. Switch to LED bulbs. Turn off lights, appliances and electronics when not in use. Adjust thermostat settings to save energy. Learn more ways to cut home energy bills.
Reuse and shop for used items
Invest in reusable items and shop smart to save money and be more sustainable.
- Shop at thrift stores. Boulder has many excellent thrift stores for clothing, household items and more. Check out Boulder’s list of local thrift stores.
- Borrow or rent items. Consider borrowing or renting things you rarely use instead of purchasing a new product. For example, borrow an outfit from a friend for an interview or formal event. Consider working with your neighbors to lend each other landscaping tools like edgers, lawnmowers or tree trimmers.
- Invest in reusable products. Avoid Colorado’s disposal bag tax by taking reusable bags to the store. Also, many coffee shops offer a small discount for bringing a reusable coffee cup to fill your order. Save on plastic bags, paper plates and plastic utensils by purchasing reusable lunchboxes and snack bags. Look for more items you can reuse instead of buying disposable products.
- Repair broken items. Don’t toss out an item simply because it stopped working. Register to attend a Boulder U-Fix-It clinic to learn how to repair common items like clothing, jewelry, appliances, furniture and electronics.
Find support at the E-Center
If you are interested in more ways to practice sustainability, the E-Center offers a wide range of resources.
- Join the Sustainable Buff Community.
- Sign the Sustainability Pledge.
- Attend workshops and events.
- Explore volunteer opportunities on CUServes.
- Participate in the Campus Sustainability Summit.
If you have questions or need additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.