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3 Ways to Live Sustainably on a College Campus

You have a lot on your plate already with being in school. Classes, homework, exams, maybe you even have a part- or full-time job. 

Unfortunately, the world has reached a point where none of us can afford to turn a blind eye to environmental destruction. Many people are waking up and recognizing the need for change if we wish to save our planet.

One of the active movements around the world fighting for environmental conservation is sustainable living. It’s the kind of lifestyle anyone, including college students, can embrace and contribute to positive change.

The good news is: 

You don’t have to choose between your education and helping out Mother Nature. We’ll show you three easy ways to live sustainably even during your college campus years!

What is Sustainable Living Anyways?

A sustainable lifestyle has a less negative impact on the world around us. It teaches ways of living harmoniously within the ecosystem. Sustainable living promotes living lightly and being conscious of actions that have damaging consequences to the environment.

How Can College Students Live Sustainably?

Here are three tips students can adopt into their college life to make the world a better place.

1. Avoid Waste

It’s surprising just how good we are at creating waste. Humans have been stretching natural resources and not necessarily out of need. This makes avoiding wasting one of the critical goals of a sustainable lifestyle.

Here are some of the changes you can make in your college life to make sure you’re not wasting resources:

Start Recycling

Most people do care about the environment and want to do something to help. Recycling offers an easy solution.

Think about it, who doesn’t hate the sight of tons of plastic trash at landfills? What about all that plastic that ends up in the oceans?

It all starts with one person dumping a bottle or wrapper in the trash instead of a recycling bin.

Start sorting through your waste and categorizing what’s recyclable and what’s not. Figure out which items go where and start recycling.

Did you know that clothes are also recyclable?

Yeah, and considering the average American tosses out 80 pounds of used clothes a year, there’s a need for emergency intervention.

Instead of throwing away, send clothes you’re not using but are in good condition to thrift shops or donate. The rest of your old clothes should go to the recycler.

And if you have old gadgets you do not use anymore, you can sell those too. By choosing to trade used IT hardware and equipment, you help save the environment and get money in return.

There is no need to worry about your data being extracted or left behind in hard drives. Should you choose to, you can witness the destruction of your data and get a full audit with photographic evidence. That means whatever sensitive information your IT gear may have will be gone before the hardware is sold to the next owner.

Learn to Reuse

Reusing is the next best way of managing waste and goes hand in hand with recycling.

Instead of buying new items every so often, try buying used items. You’ll be helping reduce the burden on the manufacturing industry, which heavily affects the planet.

You can also reuse the items you already have instead of throwing them away. 

For instance, get reusable water bottles to limit your use of disposable ones. 

You can reuse things like: 

  • Tin foil
  • Plastic containers
  • Paper bags
  • Boxes 

Responsible Use of Electricity and Water

Did you know that America is the leading consumer of the world’s energy resources? 

Compared to the rest of the world, America consumes 24% of the total share. That’s an insane amount if you consider the fact that the country’s population is only about 5% of the world’s population.

You can be the agent for change when you start being conscious of electricity use since it’s one of the things people waste a lot.

The same goes for fresh water, another scarce commodity. Try to be responsible with your water usage.

Be Conscientious With Your Food

Don’t serve yourself more food than you can eat, and don’t toss it in the bin just because you’re full.

If you have extra food, pack it away in the fridge for later. 

There are also movements like Vegan Tuesdays and Meatless Mondays, which you can join to ease off the consumption of animal products.

2. Limit Paper Use

Every year, we lose over 9 million acres of forest to paper consumption. That’s how much we’re using paper products on a global scale.

You can do something about this. It’s demand that drives the production, and as a student, you can train yourself to use as few paper products as possible.

Some of these products are necessary, like tissue paper. Others aren’t necessary at all, like paper towels as you can always use a rag.

Also, try to print out less of your schoolwork and use digital versions as often as you can.

3. Embrace Walking, Cycling, and Public Transport

It’s fun to have your own car in college besides being super convenient, but you may want to weigh the pros and cons of owning one.

Do you really need one?

You can always use bus services or the subway, which is also cheaper in the long run compared to gasoline and car maintenance expenses.

Remember, whatever little you do as an individual is a massive help to the environment. You could choose not to own a vehicle or not to drive one every so often.

Either way, you’ll be doing something to reduce carbon emissions.


As a species, we’ve had a bigger effect on the environment in the last 300 hundred years compared to the thousands of years of our existence. Those three centuries have put a serious strain on our natural resources. 

What future is there for humans if we keep going as we are?

This is the right time to stop climate change, and everyone is a vital part of the cause. As a college student, there’s a lot you can do to limit your carbon footprint, and a sustainable lifestyle offers you that opportunity.

Author bio

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech Harrisonburg to help them with their online marketing.

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