As college students, we are all on a budget. Tuition is only going up and we are all searching for ways to save!

In my sustainable business class, I learned a lot about packaging. It is something we all pay for when we buy goods and sometimes we throw it out too soon. A lot of packaging used can be recycled.

And I am not talking about sorting green class from clear glass in your dorm or apartment building.

Think about the ways you can use packaging for other goods you might need instead of throwing the packaging away.

1. Arts, Crafts and Gardening: Rip and scratch the paper seal off of glass containers used for salsa and spaghetti sauce to make homemade candles or begin your summer garden in your dorm. Make sure to use soy wax when making candles because it is better for the environment and use a wick without metal in it.

2. Free Tupperware – Instead of buying plastic Tupperware solely for the purpose of storing leftovers, use different types of packaging you have to buy anyways with food. Glass containers come in different shapes and sizes and will be useful for storing homemade sauces later.

3. Window and mirror washer- Forget buying extra paper towels to wipe away Windex. Use your campus newspaper after you finish the Sudoku and catch up on daily news. This free cleaning supply with leave your windows and mirrors without streaks and without the leftover cloth build-up that you see from paper towels.

4. Room Décor- Save those bottle caps to make a tabletop on a piece of wood or some kind of room decoration. Also use old magazines to make collages and add to your wall decorations instead of going out and buying posters.

5. And if you are really looking for a way to go green, save old cereal boxes and other cardboard and paper you only used one side of to make notebooks for your classes. You can always add paper to these notebooks and decorate them so they reflect your own personal style!

There are many ways to reuse products we are spending money on and then throwing out when they are still perfectly usable for something else. These are just a few examples. Once you get started, you will be surprised what you might find you can save money on!

Sarah Foss is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology at Penn State, University Park. In the last three years, she has developed a strong passion for sustainability. Her sophomore year, she was a Teacher’s assistant for environmental science and she interned with the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. She was inducted into NSCS in the Fall of 2010 and served on the THON committee for her chapter.