Skip to main content

12 Tips For Living Sustainably In College Dormitories

As someone who is working towards her environmental studies major, I have been working to find different ways in which I can practice sustainable living while living in a dormitory. I have complied a list of a few different tips and tricks that you can starting using while in a college dormitory and continue to implement into your life afterward dormitory living. 

Tip 1

So that I did not have to purchase a coffee mug and a bowl, I found a coffee cup that is big enough to function as a bowl. Not only am I not making two purchases, but I am also practicing a minimalism by using this one product for two purposes. The first mug is similar to the one I purchased. Before going out to purchase a new mug try scouting out thrift stores. Purchasing from a thrift store is a method of shopping helps you to reduce your ecological footprint.

Tip 2

Instead of using paper plates and plastic silverware, purchasing plates and silverware is another tip to living sustainable while in college dormitories. I found this awesome product on Amazon that I just had to share. These plates are made from the vegetable waste matter of corn, starch, bamboo and rice husks. It is a product that can withstand everyday use and will naturally biodegrade within 2-3 years once buried in the ground. The plate is also dishwasher safe. Like it will say with all of these items, only purchase a new item when you don't already have one or can't find what you are looking for at a thrift store. Asking your parents if there is microwave safe plate that you can take with you is an option that eliminates purchasing a new one completely.

Tip 3

Going along with the theme of dinning needs, another great product that can be purchased and used outside of college is bamboo silverware. You can use this in your dorm and when you go out to eat. If your college uses disposable silverware this is an option for helping to lessen the amount of waste you are sending to the land fill. What is also great about bamboo silverware is that it requires hand washing, which is basically the only way to wash dishes while living in a dorm. The second option I included comes with a travel case and chopsticks.

Tip 4

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Take advantage of the recycling service that is available in your dormitory. Know what can and cannot be recycled. The iRecycle app is a great resource of finding facilities that will recycle materials that local sanitation services will not. 

Tip 5

Do not use plastic water bottles! Purchase a glass or stainless steel water bottle. I am guessing that you already own a water bottle that fits these requirements, its just the effort of remembering to use it that can be difficult.

Tip 6

Something that can make a big difference in your efforts to live sustainably while in college is by using an electronic or digital planner. There are many different ways this can be done. You could simply use the notes app on your smartphone. I would say this is the easiest because you can just update it while in class when the assignments are given or when the professor publishes on the class website. A way to make sure that you do not miss any assignment deadlines is by setting reminders. If you want a more creative digital planner you can use the GoodNotes app to create different spreads. I plan on creating a number of different planner related spreads for students. Stay tuned for that post.

Tip 7

Purchasing electronic copies of your textbooks is the most sustainable option. This can be expensive, but for me I find it to be very beneficial because I have assess to the textbook at all times. If you cannot purchase an electronic copy of a textbook, then next best option is to use a rental service. This can either be done through the bookstore at your college, Amazon, Chegg or other online companies. If you are unable to rent the needed textbook you can always purchase the textbook and when the semester is done you can use the same services to sell or rent out the book. Another option is to contact the professor of the class when the next semester has started and ask if there is a student in need of the textbook. Some universities have Facebook groups dedicated to students selling and renting textbooks to one another. I would highly recommend checking this out.

Tip 8

Unplug chargers and electronics when not in use. Every morning when I do this I say to myself "I am cutting the power." Using daylight to light up your dorm room instead of turing on the lights and using energy when there is an available option that is free and sustainable.

Tip 9

To avoid creating excessive amount of paper that will just be disposed of (hopefully recycled) at the end of the semester make the switch to taking electronic lecture notes. You can do this using a laptop or an iPad. If you are interested in taking notes on an iPad check out my blog post Taking Notes on an iPad. Another way to avoid paper waste is by only printing out documents or files that are required for class. Instead of printing documents and keeping them in folders or binders, you can create folders for each course on your laptop or iPad. This is an easy and effective way to keep everything organized and paper-free.

Tip 10

To minimize food waste, get small portions of food and if you are still hungry then you can go back to get more. If you are going to purchase food from the grocery store, try to find a bulk grocery store or at best a store that has a bulk section. By bringing your own containers for the bulk food, you are not using the plastic bags which will just end up being thrown away and cause a number of problem for the environment. Another tip for grocery shopping in general is to bring your own grocery bags.

Tip 11

My next tip is to use a hand towel instead of paper towels. The residential hall that I live in does not have hand dryers, it only has paper towels. By using a hand towel to dry your hands you are eliminating the amount of paper waste being sent to the landfill. I am not ashamed to carry a towel around in my backpack if I know I am making a small difference to improve the quality of our environment.

Tip 12

University clubs and organizations love to load students up with free stuff. Refrain from taking the free study. In the lobby of my residential hall the health club is always handing out sample size products. An item that I am always eager to pick up when clubs are passing them out is reusable bags.

I hope that these products and tips not only inspired you to live more sustainably in your dormitory, but also allowed you to see that you can easily make small changes in your day to day life that will have a lasting impact.

Don't forget to stay up to date on my blog by following my social media accounts!
Instagram: @whenishouldbestudying
Pinterest: @whenishouldbestudying


Popular posts from this blog

Reasonable Dorm Room Cleaning Schedule

Reasonable Dorm Room Cleaning Schedule After my first semester of college I have developed a cleaning routine that I have been able to keep up with. You can read my previous blog post about What I Learned In My First Semester of College . Over the past few months I have experimented and I am confident in the routine that I have created.  Personalize When it comes to personalizing the schedule you could add or take out the different chores. For example I also wash my retainers weekly and monthly my roommate and I decorate the marker board on the outside of our door. We also only clean our mirrors when needed since we have found that they do not seem to become too dirty regularly. Something that I would make sure you sanitize every week would be the surfaces that you are constantly touching. That means light switches, door handles, and your desk. By doing this I managed to avoid getting sick when my roommate and other floor mates go sick. Another task that you could add to y

Bullet Journal Fitness and Workout Spread Ideas

If you want to purchase some of these spreads you can buy the digital bundle from my Etsy shop: Simply Paperless .  I had created six different bullet journal fitness and workout trackers/spreads. These spreads were made in my digital bullet journal using the GoodNotes App.   I highly recommend to use a stylus when using GoodNotes as a digital bullet journal. For this project I used the Adonit Dash 3 Stylus , which I highly recommend. I also recommend the Bargain Depot Stylus 2 Pack  from Amazon. Daily Workout Plan This first spread can be used to plan out what exercises you plan to workout each day of the week. I would recommend this spread for those who are just starting to workout. I did not created the workout that is used as the example for the content of this spread. The workout is from Pintrest Workout Plan .  Workout Tracker This next tracker is in the format of a monthly calendar. In order to track the different workouts accomplished throughout

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus Book Review

Reasons For Reading This Book: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus was Jackie's choice for the month of October. Jackie is the host of The Readheads Podcast Book Club. This is a monthly podcast book club that I have been apart of since it was established in 2020. I love getting to hear the thoughts of the hosts each month.  Content of the Book: Elizabeth Zott is a chemist but is much more than meets the eye. She is not only beautiful but also extremely smart, confident, strong, and not afraid to beat to her own drum. Elizabeth is one of the only female chemists working at Hastings Research Institute. She is viewed as different by everyone there. It's there that she meet Nobel-Prize nominated chemist Calvin Evans. Calvin who falls in love with Elizabeth is described as a loner, grudge holder, and extremely brilliant. Fast forward a few years and Elizabeth is now a single-mother working as the host of the most watched cooking show, Supper at Six . With Elizabeth's ways of