12 Tips for Living Sustainably in College, Straight from Other Students

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"These sustainability tips make being planet-friendly on campus a breeze, from saving leftovers at the dining hall to eco laundry options."

Summer break is a great time to develop sustainable new habits, from learning how to compost to cutting down on plastic. Now that it’s time to head back to campus, you’re probably wondering how to continue living sustainably in a small dorm or apartment. Well, the Brightly community has your back—and it’s easier than you think!

We asked our community of changemakers to share their favorite tips for being more planet-friendly as a student—things that make their lives easier, and the planet better. Here are some sustainability tips that will help you continue your eco-journey into fall, all while inspiring others to do the same in the process.

P.S. Want to connect with like-minded individuals who love the planet just as much as you do? Download the Brightly app in the App Store or Google Play! There’s a discussion group for Sustainable Students, Plant Lovers, Fair Foodies, and more—aka all the sustainability tips you could ever want.

12 Sustainability Tips for College Students

1. Bring Reusable Containers to Dining Halls

college sustainability tips

“I’ll be bringing my own takeout containers for leftovers at meals.” —Rose

“I got Stasher bags to bring to my dining hall to save leftovers from going into the trash.” —Gwyneth

2. Bring Your Reusables Around Campus

“I just graduated from college, and my favorite tips were to carry my own silverware and coffee mug! This kept me from creating unnecessary waste.” —Eden

3. Utilize Old School Supplies

college sustainability tips

“I always used to go through my previous notebooks and rip out the old pages and use what was left to save paper.” —Bella

“I make sure I use disposable pens and markers until they’re completely dead, or get refills for them if I really like them.” —Madisen

4. Compost Your Food Scraps

“I created a compost bin at school and I put a scrap bucket next to the bins in the common room. I would go out to the bark pile or collect dead leaves around school and use them as my brown layer.” —Bella

5. Pack Your Lunch

“Always pack lunch so you don’t have to buy anything that may not be in plastic-free packaging.” —Bella

6. Turn Off the Lights

college sustainability tips

“Be that person that goes around and turns the lights off!” —Bella

7. Repurpose Old Containers

“Instead of buying pen cups/makeup brush organizers, I repurposed and cleaned out old candle jars to use instead.” —Gwyneth

8. Make Your Laundry Routine More Eco

how much laundry detergent to use

“I’m using soap nuts for my laundry! They can be reused up to 10 times before adding more to the bag. You can compost them as well.” —Caia

“I’m using wool balls instead of dryer sheets.” —Gwyneth

9. Go Digital with Note-Taking

“I’m using a Rocketbook and typing in docs instead of buying and using new paper notebooks.” —Caia

10. Bike Instead of Drive

college sustainability tips

“I bike everywhere instead of driving. It’s healthier for me and the environment.” —Aurora

11. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle

“As a marching band student, I invested in a good reusable water bottle instead of using the cups they offer.” —Aurora

12. Get Involved in Programs on Campus

college sustainability tips

“Research if your college has any food waste programs and find out if you can participate. Some schools and dorms will have student garden programs where you could participate and grow your own food.” —Maria

For even more sustainability tips, watch the video below:

Hey there! Want to help us change the world every day through easy, achievable, eco-friendly tips and tricks? Sign up for the Brightly Spot and join our movement of over a million changemakers.

These sustainability tips make being planet-friendly on campus a breeze, from saving leftovers at the dining hall to eco laundry options.

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