Opinion: How Iowa City can be more eco-conscious

There are simple ways that organizations and students in our community can help the environment.


The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Al

Newly presented cardboard dumpsters are seated behind the Three Towers apartment complex at 313 S. Gilbert St. on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The Iowa City City Council passed a mandate in Nov. 2016 requiring all rental units of four tenants or more to provide recycling services. This resolution will be enforced by the end of 2018.

Krystin Langer, Columnist

With recent discussions regarding climate change, there is an ongoing conversation among Iowa City residents about the various ways to contribute and help combat these environmental issues and stay eco-friendly among the community.

In Iowa City, numerous organizations and businesses promote types of economically fueled change. The New Pioneer Co-op  is among one of these organizations doing their part to keep Iowa City clean. With a farm-to-table ideology, the store only supplies customers with paper bags and an array of recyclable utensils.

Another organization in Iowa City that plays a large part in the eco-friendly climate is Green Iowa AmeriCorps. The mission of the organization is to help make Iowans more energy efficient through low-impact home weatherization, energy education, and community outreach. Along with the organization’s large scale efforts within the city, AmeriCorps also advocates for individuals to work toward being more conscious of their town.

AmeriCorps member Nicholas Simone is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa.

The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and bottles.

“Being a part of an organization who prioritizes sustainability, I have been able to learn the different ways that I can make an impact,” Simone said. “Being more conscious when it comes to recycling and trying to leave less of a carbon footprint by reducing how much I drive have been two of the simplest ways that I have changed my lifestyle to be more sustainable.”

In addition to these tips, there are several other ways that UI students can become more eco-conscious in simple day-to-day activities. One of my personal favorite ways to combat unnecessary pollution and waste is using reusable water bottles.

Not only does this simple switch save the city from an overhaul of plastic waste, but it also saves the owner money.

A fact to consider is the average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and bottles, according to a study at Iowa State University. In most of the UI’s buildings, students can find water fountains that are specifically catered to fill up these reusable bottles.

Another easy way to help the environment in college is to unplug your electronics from time to time.

It was also discovered in the study that the average student brings at least five electronic devices to campus with them. Limiting the usage of these devices to a reasonable amount of time can save energy and possibly even positively affect mental health. Besides these tips, students that are passionate about creating more change around campus and Iowa City can also get involved in one of the many environmental organizations that the UI offers.

The UI Environmental Science Club, the Environmental Coalition, and Net Impact are just a few of the several student organizations that give students a chance to participate in the outreach.

Being more friendly to the environment is massive challenge faced by large groups and individuals. Knowing how one can best make a difference is an essential first step.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.