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23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
Buying only what you need can help you save money and improve the environment. Shutterstock.

Turn to Borrow or Buy Less 

You live in a consumer culture, which makes it easy to buy more items than you need. It’s easy to fall victim to know what you need and grab what you want when you’re in the stores – or shopping online. For instance, when searching for an item on Amazon, you might run into several other products that you don’t need but decide to buy because they’re cool or might come in handy. 

Another challenge is knowing when to buy or rent. For example, the next time you want to see that new movie on DVD, you should look into renting it instead of buying it. The same goes for music; you can download the songs instead of buying all new CDs. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
Your toothbrush might take years to decompose, depending on what type you get. Shutterstock.

Think About Your Toothbrush

One way to help decrease the number of toothbrushes in the dump is to purchase a bamboo toothbrush instead of the plastic ones. Take a moment to think about this – it takes about 400 years for a toothbrush to decompose completely, and they haven’t been around that long. This number means that every toothbrush made is still lying around in some landfill, waiting to decompose completely. When you decide to choose the bamboo toothbrush, you will help cut down on plastic pollution. 

While bamboo is usually more than the plastic ones you can buy, it’s worth choosing the more expensive to live sustainably. Plus, you can purchase a set of four of them for under $20 at Amazon. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
Second-hand stores, sometimes called thrift stores and organic supermarkets, are great ways to purchase sustainable items. Shutterstock.

Find Sustainable Shops

It seems like there are new stores to visit every day, which only leads you to purchase more items than you need. However, it also creates a challenge of knowing when and where to shop to live a sustainable life. One way to help improve the environment is to know the best places to shop for sustainable shops. 

While some cities will have more of these types of shops than others, there are many places to look, such as second-hand stores, plastic-free supermarkets, repair cafes, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, local farmer’s markets, and organic supermarkets. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
One of the best steps to decrease the amount of food you waste is to make smaller portions. Shutterstock.

Don’t Waste Your Food

It happens to everyone – you make a meal for your family, and it seems that it’s barely touched. Your children aren’t hungry. You pack the food away in the fridge or freezer with the thought of making it later, but then realize you’ve waited too long, and you just need to toss the food out. 

While it’s not always easy to only make enough food that people will eat in one sitting, you want to do everything you can to try. However, you can try to help ease the tons of food wasted every year by making smaller portions or setting a night where you will warm up the leftovers for your family. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
When you choose LED lights, you can use their advantages to help save you money and make some areas darker and the other regions lighter. Shutterstock.

Purchase LED Light Bulbs

LED light bulbs are a newer phenomenon in the world, but they are also great energy savers. Many people have turned to LED lights not only because they can save a few dollars on their electric bill but also because they don’t have to change light bulbs as often as LEDs are known to last longer than regular bulbs. 

Another great benefit is that these lights range when it comes to brightness. You can tailor your home according to how much light you want in a corner or the whole room. For instance, you might have your bedroom darker than your living room or kitchen. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
You wouldn’t just throw away your home or car when they need repair, so why would you do that to other items that you can fix up? Shutterstock.

Fix Items Instead of Throwing Them

Sometimes items break by accident, and other times it happens because they are old and worn out. While you can always fix what’s broken, you should always take the chance and look at it as a possibility. You might not be able to fix it yourself, but other people could help you, whether they’re friends, family, or professionals. 

Fixing items instead of throwing them away will decrease the garbage in the waste dumps and help you save money because you won’t need to go out and buy a new one. If you’re not sure how to fix it, turn to Google as the Internet can help you learn how to repair most items. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
The next time you’re running low on cleaning products, look to make natural cleaning products to boost the environment. Shutterstock.

Turn to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

One of the most significant factors that the current crisis helped produce for people worldwide is how to make eco-friendly cleaning products and hand sanitizer. There are usually harsh chemicals in the cleaning products. While alcohol won’t hurt the environment as much, you can help boost the world around you from creating an alcohol-free hand sanitizer. 

There are dozens of recipes you can find online and make at home. All you need to do is ensure you can gather all the supplies at the store. They usually consist of some type of essential oils, which you can have your pick. For instance, if you want to make cleaning products that smell like lavender, you know which type of essential oil to choose. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
Not only will the microwave help cook your meals faster, but it also helps preserve the environment around you. Shutterstock.

Microwave Over Conventional Oven

You might not need a big push to follow this tip. You might already follow it and not realize that you’re living more sustainably, especially when you’re living in a college dorm room. After all, not all dorms have kitchens or large appliances like ovens that you can use. 

You can make a lot of food in the microwave, including baked potatoes. The key is to ensure that you take all the safety measures and watch the meal, so it doesn’t explode or cause a big mess. Using the microwave over the oven can help you live more sustainably because it uses less energy than the oven. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
Saying “no” to flying can help you preserve the environment because flying is the worst way to travel. Shutterstock.

If You Don’t Have to Fly, Don’t Do It

While you probably think that you can’t fly for a while because of the current crisis, you always want to think of staying closer to home, so you don’t need to fly anywhere – even when the current crisis ends. 

When you turn to the airplane, you’re damaging the environment worse than using your vehicle or taking a bus. Flying from Bristol to Edinburgh produces 0.15 metric tons of carbon. You might not think there are many sights to see close to home, but if you can take the bus, train, or car, you can see it. Therefore, enjoy your drive across the country. 

23 Tips for Living More Sustainably in College
You can turn gardening into a family event and get your children to help so they can learn how to live more sustainably. Shutterstock.

Start a Big Garden

Even if you feel you don’t have much room to start a garden, you can find a small corner in your yard to get yourself a little start. Maybe you can start a community garden where people from your area will grow their food and share with other members of the community. 

Gardens are a great way to eat healthily, save money, and cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly. You can always invest in windowsill boxes if you don’t have a yard to help grow your garden. 


“5 Tips for Being a Sustainable College Student.” Lily Iler, Spoon University. 

“The Ultimate 20 Step Guide to Eco-friendly Living.” Good Energy. August 2017. 

“15 Tips for Green Living in College.” The Princeton Review. 

“15 Easy Ways Students Can Go Green.” Elizabeth Hoyt, Fast Web. August 2019.

“Green guide: 15 tips for a more sustainable lifestyle.” Green Office Movement.