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On Earth Day, 5 Ways Colleges Are Shrinking Their Carbon Footprints

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It's not easy being green, but that's not stopping colleges that have promised to shrink their carbon footprints.

Efforts to go green are often linked to maximizing efficiency as budgets shrink. However -- recession or not -- schools haven't given up on investments in green technology and often build this sustainability-centered mindset into their course catalogues.

"Generally speaking, initiatives to drive energy costs down cut down on schools’ carbon footprint and address waste usage more than pay for sustainability departments and the programs," said Waste Management's Herb Sharpe.

Sharpe has been working with colleges and universities on their sustainability efforts for Waste Management. Sharpe said many universities aren't worried about their rate of investment. Their goal is to be a leader in being more sustainable on their campus.

So how do schools become greener? Sharpe said it's often lead by students pushing for more environment-friendly practices. Yet, they often need to implement changes in baby steps to slowly change student behavior to adapt sustainable practices on campus. Some schools have tried to push students by using competitions to see who can conserve the most on campus.

"Obviously waste cannot be eliminated completely, but you have to take a holistic look at practices across campus and determine where there is room for improvement," Sharpe said. "The most important factor in influencing diversion rates and improving sustainability statistics is student behavior, habits and attitudes."

Take a look at a few ways colleges are implementing sustainable practices:

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