Sustainability Tips for College Students
Are you looking for tips on how to live frugally but sustainably while attending college?
Do you want to learn how to save money without sacrificing the environment and your quality of life?
Then read on!
There are many reasons why students should be sustainable in college.
For starters, living sustainably may be cheaper and will help you get ahead financially. It also helps you develop habits that will last throughout your lifetime. And finally, it teaches valuable lessons about budgeting and living mindfully.
Simple Sustainability Practices You For College Students
Purchase A Bamboo Toothbrush
Sustainability practices don’t have to be a large-scale thing. It is actually in the little things – like toothbrushes.
Did you know that it can take 1000 years for one toothbrush to decompose in a landfill and 500 years to biodegrade in the ocean?
That means the very first toothbrush you used in your life is still there somewhere – and will be until the end of your life. If everyone changes their toothbrush every three months – imagine the toothbrush trash we have.
That’s why the simple act of changing into a bamboo toothbrush will make a big difference.
For reference, a bamboo toothbrush handle can decompose in a matter of weeks to 10 years since it’s organic. The length is affected by several factors, including soil, temperature, and atmosphere.
Turn Off The Lights
At night, turn off any unnecessary lights and unplug them.
In the morning, unplug any lamps that are not in use and turn off lights in bright rooms.
As much as possible, use natural light. It saves energy, and it’s free! Everyone knows that sunlight help gets enough Vitamin D, but it also helps you stay alert and will help you sleep better at night too.
Pack Your Lunch
This simple practice saves money, reduces waste, and helps you eat healthier. Plus, packing your own lunch makes you feel better about yourself because you’re sure about the food you’re eating.
Prepackaged or store-bought foods often contain preservatives, additives, and artificial flavours that aren’t the best for you. Plus, when you buy prepackaged foods, you lose control over portion sizes. So aside from packaging waste (disposable takeout containers, plastic wrap, etc.), you may also have leftovers that can become food waste.
Repurpose Old Containers
The idea behind this strategy is to reuse old plastic bottles, cans, jars, and other containers for food storage or other useful items. This saves money because you won’t have to purchase new containers when you need one. And it helps the environment because you’re reducing waste.
You don’t have to buy reusable containers. You can just reuse what you already have.
The easiest way to repurpose old containers at college is to use them to store food and drinks. But you can also DIY them into storage, organizers, plant pots, dorm décor, and more.
Compost Your Food Scraps
Composting is a simple process where organic material (such as fruit peels, vegetable trimmings, and coffee grounds) is mixed and turned over periodically until it decomposes completely. This helps reduce pollution and waste in landfills.
Reduce food waste through composting. Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps and turn them into fertilizer.
To do this, simply collect your compostable food waste, and add dry leaves and grass clippings. Place them in your food toss-out tub and mix occasionally. Start small, so you get comfortable with the process.
After you’re done, you can use the compost to fertilize any plants you have.
Bring Your Reusables Around Campus
Bring your reusable items around campus. This includes things like water bottles, lunch bags, coffee cups, etc. These items can help reduce the amount of trash produced at school and keep our environment clean.
If you drink 2 cups of coffee a day, that’s 14 disposable cups a week – and that’s just a week. But if you bring a tumbler around, that’s 0 disposable cups forever.
Imagine if there were 1000 students on every college campuses that drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day. That’s so much waste in such as short period of time. But if everyone bought reusable coffee cups instead of using disposable cups from coffee shops, we’d spare so much space in the landfills.
Make Use Of Old School Supplies
When you need new school supplies, consider making use of old ones. This not only saves natural resources but also reduces the amount of trash produced.
Another great idea is to reuse old textbooks. Many colleges offer free recycling programs where students can drop off used books for credit toward future classes. Some schools even allow students to sell back their own textbooks online.
There are also plenty of companies that specialize in selling recycled materials. They often pay cash for unwanted goods, including textbooks, office equipment, furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, and more.
Finally, you can recycle your own stuff. You can choose refillable pens instead of single-use items. You can also utilize unused pages of old notebooks. You can separate them and bind them into a new notebook.
Make Your Laundry Routine More Eco-Friendly
There are many ways to reduce your laundry routine’s impact on our environment.
First, consider investing in power and water-efficient washing machine. Also, try switching to cold water wash only. The cold setting uses less electricity than the hot setting.
Lastly, only run your washing machine when it has a full load to maximize the clothes you wash per cycle.
Take Your Notes Digitally
When you use digital note-taking software, you can access your notes at any time, anywhere, and share them with others. This means you never lose a single piece of information again. Plus, when you digitize your notes, you can search through them easily and find exactly what you need.
More importantly, you can save pounds of paper and pens that take natural resources to be produced and will eventually end up in landfills.
Instead Of Driving, Ride A Bike.
Riding a bike is cheaper than owning a car. And since you won’t be paying gas, insurance, maintenance, parking fees, etc., you’ll actually end up saving money. Plus, you’ll avoid having to pay for gas, insurance, repairs, and parking at the university.
You can suggest bikeshare programs (like carsharing programs) on your college campus, so it’s more appealing and accessible to students.
Not only does riding bikes instead of driving help to reduce pollution, save money and fossil fuel and help you be more fit.
Biking burns calories, build muscle, improves posture, strengthens bones, reduces stress, increases energy, and helps prevent obesity.
Purchase A Reusable Water Bottle
Instead of disposing of multiple bottled water every day, consider investing in reusable bottles. They’re great because they help reduce waste, save money, and protect our environment.
They cost a little bit more than disposable ones, but they last longer, and you won’t feel guilty about wasting them.
Reusable water bottles come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are made of plastic, some are stainless steel, and others are BPA-free. Choose a bottle that fits your lifestyle and budget.
With a reusable water bottle, you can also take advantage of water refilling stations around campus.
First, avoid buying too much stuff or bulk items at once. Buying too much stuff right now means you won’t have enough room for things you need later. You may not even use everything and end up wasting more. Instead, plan ahead and purchase only what you need right now.
Second, shop wisely. Don’t just go to the store because it’s convenient. Shop for items that you actually need. Avoid impulse buys.
Third, shop responsibly. Be aware of the environmental impacts associated with your purchases. Consider whether the materials used to manufacture your goods were produced sustainably. Also, try to reduce waste by reusing packaging whenever possible.
Finally, shop locally. Many retailers offer discounts on school supplies and other educational merchandise. This helps support small businesses and encourages them to continue offering quality products. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve helped keep your community thriving!
Examine The Labels
The labels on food packaging often contain information about where the product was grown, whether it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and whether it was produced sustainably. These labels help consumers decide whether or not to purchase a particular product.
Doing this will help you know what products are sustainable. You can practice and support sustainability by supporting brands that work towards sustainability.
Reduce Water Waste
Here are simple things you can do to reduce your water waste.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, washing hands, or scrubbing dishes until you need to rinse.
Take quick showers instead of baths.
Steam food rather than boiling and
Place plastic water bottles or a float booster in your toilet tank to reduce water use per flush.
Donate Your Items
Most dorm rooms aren’t designed to hold large amounts of stuff. So rather than storing everything in your room, consider donating some items to local charities instead.
Not only does this help others, but it helps you too because you won’t need to worry about storage space anymore. Donating items instead of throwing them away gives the items a chance for a second life, aka recycling and reusing through other people.
There are many environmental organizations that collect used items and recycle them into useful resources or give them to those who need them.
Shop At Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are great places to shop for college students because they offer quality items at affordable prices. They’re often filled with gently used clothing, books, furniture, electronics, toys, and household goods.
We’ve mentioned donation above, not it’s your turn to make the most of donated items as well. You can shop in thrift stores that use profits from donated items to help the community. Or simply just go to thrift stores to save money – either way is a win-win situation.
Mondays Are Meatless
Sustainability is not just about the items we use. It’s in everything – even in the food we consume.
Meatless Mondays are a great way to reduce meat consumption and save money at the same time.
The benefits of going meatless include saving money, reducing environmental impact, and helping animals.
Meat production is a major contributor to climate change and greenhouse gases emissions worldwide. And since most college students already live frugally, skipping meat is a win-win situation for all.
Practising sustainability may sound scary at first because you think it requires major changes in our daily lives.
While it does require a lot of changes in our day-to-day life, it doesn’t have to be hard.
You can start with simple things like changing toothbrushes, thrift shopping your dorm room essentials, or finding food options with less meat.
You don’t have to wait until your adult life to start living sustainably. You don’t have to be a millionaire to be a part of the community of changemakers and act upon your concerns over climate change.
You can do it now, even as a broke college student. And we’re proud that you’re here reading because that’s the start!