Five Ways to Go Green in College


Artwork created through Canva by Alexis Shofner / The Runner

Alexis Shofner, Staff Writer

Being sustainable as a college student doesn’t cost much more than some dedication and spirit. There are often courses available to learn more about environmental awareness as well as clubs both on campus and within the community. Below are five simple ways to start being more sustainable now.  


  1. Switch out plastic for stainless or glass.  

While Hydo Flasks are certainly one of the top brands out there, there are also many more budget-friendly versions of stainless-steel reusable water bottles that also come in different styles and colors. They are portable, make staying hydrated easier, and could potentially save you upwards of $1,200 according to a study conducted by Penn State University. Single-use plastic food containers can be swapped out for glass, which will keep your leftovers fresher for longer and eliminate that unnecessary plastic waste.   


  1. Ditch soap bottles for soap bars.  

Instead of buying the bottled version of body wash look for soap bars. There is less plastic packaging involved, sometimes none, and they work just as well as the liquid form. Bar soap also typically lasts longer than liquid soap. This bar soap swap can be applied to hand wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner, and even cleaning products like dish soap.  


  1. Be thrifty.  

By being thrifty, you can recycle and upcycle all sorts of goods like clothes, furniture, books, housewares, and virtually anything you can think of. Thrifting is also much cheaper than shopping via corporations. Even used textbooks can be found, especially in college towns. It is also important to donate unwanted clothes rather than throw it out, as it is estimated that Americans contribute around 16 million tons of textile waste per year, according to the Environmental Protective Agency. One man’s trash really can be another’s treasure.  


  1. Reuse school supplies.  

Rather than throwing out those half-used notebooks from last semester, repurpose them for the new term. They can be used as their original purpose or transformed into other things like a personal journal or brain dump book. If you are a mechanical pencil user, then buying a refillable one will not only last longer but also cut down on plastic waste. Some ink pens are refillable as well and fully wooden pencils are always an option.  


  1. Recycle and trash appropriately.  

The easiest sustainability tip to incorporate into your life as a busy college student is to simply sort your recycling and trash waste appropriately. Waste management varies from area to area, so be sure to double check what materials are okay to generally recycle and which ones might need to go to separate facilitates dedicated to that material. E-waste, which stands for electronic waste, for example is something that is separate from the facilities that deal with things like aluminum and plastic. Taking your recycling to a facility can even bring in some extra cash when enough is gathered, which can be used to purchase a reusable water bottle to cut down future recycling trips.