Going off to college is an exciting time of your life – and you’re also likely to pick up some habits you’ll carry with you for years to come. That’s why it’s also the best time to pick up sustainability hacks!
As most college students of this generation, you’re already well-aware of the environmental issues we are facing. However, you may not be quite sure about where to get started with reducing your own impact.
Worry not, that’s why we put together this list of 10 sustainability tips for students to give you inspiration!
1. Unplug your electronics
Whether you only bring a laptop and your phone on campus with you or also use a microwave, toaster and other appliances, it’s important to unplug them when they’re not in use or at full charge.
That’s because they’re likely still drawing power from the grid! Unplugging is one of those sustainability hacks which you can start implementing now, that will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle for years going forward. If you live off-campus and pay for your own utilities, you’ll also appreciate the reduction in your electric bill!
2. Shop second hand
Whether it’s books, clothes or décor for your dorm room, buy it second-hand rather than new. This is a simple, inexpensive and FUN way for college students and anyone else who is on a budget to reduce their spending and environmental impact at the same time.
Check out this article for “Everything You Need to Know About Thrifting for a Dorm Room” for some more awesome thrifting tips.
Even if there aren’t any good thrift shops near you, you can explore the online options which are plentiful nowadays.
3. Share or borrow a bike
Using a bike to commute will not only keep off that dreaded freshman 15, but it also helps you reduce your carbon footprint. Even if your classes are within walking distance of your dorm, you still may want to bike to the shops rather than using public transport or a car.
You can get your own bike (preferably look for second-hand options), share one with your roommate or use any rental bikes available in your area.
4. Eat less meat
Did you know that meat and other animal products have some of the highest carbon footprints of all foods? Choosing to eat less meat or going vegetarian is one of the most impactful sustainability tips for students.
As an added bonus, if you eat whole, healthy foods rather than processed junk food, you’ll also likely save money on food this way!
5. Choose sustainable cleaning products
How much thought do you put into the laundry detergent or multi-purpose cleaner you use? Unfortunately, many store-bought cleaning products contain nasty chemicals harmful to your health and the environment, and don’t even get me started on the plastic packaging.
Make a conscious choice when it comes to your cleaning products – stop washing chemicals down the drain. If you’re on a budget you may also want to try some simple sustainability hacks such as mixing white vinegar with water and using that as a cleaner!
6. Use LED lightbulbs
Choosing a LED lightbulb for your desk lamp is perhaps the simplest of all sustainability tips for students we could share with you. While, as a college student, you may not think twice about something like a lightbulb, this simple choice can go a long way.
Since LED bulbs are made to last a long time, the one you buy right after moving into your dorm may even last you through the whole 4 years in college.
7. Get a reusable water bottle
A reusable water bottle will become your best friend in college, as it will prevent you from having to buy bottled water. Since most college campuses have plenty of water fountains available, you will never have to search too hard for a way to refill it throughout the day.
To reduce your impact as much as possible, choose a stainless steel or glass water bottle, which will last you through your whole studies and won’t release any microscopic plastics into your water.
8. Bring your own bags when shopping
Always have a reusable shopping bag in your backpack – or even an old plastic bag you’ve had lying around will do.
This will make sure you never have to get a single-use plastic shopping bag again, even if you go to a shop unexpectedly in the middle of the day. It’s easy to build up this simple habit while as college students – it will stick with you for years.
9. Recycle your waste
Most colleges have a recycling program directly on campus, so make sure you use it and dispose of any recyclables properly.
Take a few minutes to learn how your college recycling program works and you’ll never have to think twice about what you can recycle and how for the four years of your studies.
10. Get a houseplant
Get a simple, hard-to-kill plant such as a snake plant or a succulent. These will survive your holiday trips home as they can go without being watered for a few weeks.
How does a houseplant help you live a more sustainable lifestyle? College dorms can get… smelly. Rather than using an air freshener, a plant helps maintain the air quality in your room without any of the chemicals!