Five Tips for Making your Dorm Room More Sustainable

As fall approaches, we know your Pinterest feed is flooded with ideas on how to make your dorm feel more homey.  But how about making your dorm more sustainable?  

Depending on where you go to school, your dorm may or may not already have sustainability initiatives in place.  Regardless of your university’s policies, here are five ways you can help to lessen your footprint and make your dorm room more sustainable. 

1- Familiarize yourself with the recycling policies for your campus

Not all recycling is created equal and not all recycling facilities can process the same materials.  It’s important to be familiar with the recycling practices in your area.  Sometimes universities have independent recycling programs (and even composting programs) which are more extensive than what is available in the surrounding area.  

Be sure to familiarize yourself with their website to know which kinds of materials they are able to take.  There’s no use in recycling products that can’t be processed (and in some cases, they even can damage equipment!)

2- Think secondhand first

It might be tempting to run to Target to fully outfit your dorm with their cute decor. However, this can have a real impact on the planet.

Mass produced home products are a lot like fast fashion- they are often produced in ways with little regard for the environment or the people in the factories producing them. 

You can offset this impact by thinking secondhand first.  You’d be surprised by all the cute things you can source secondhand through thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace (plus they tend to be cheaper which is a win-win).

3- Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics

This one can be tricky in college but it isn’t impossible.  College parties are infamous for being littered with red solo cups and styrofoam plates.  These kinds of single-use plastics can be exceptionally hard on the environment.  You can help make your college experience more sustainable by packing your own reusable water bottle and cutlery set to bring with you to help cut down on waste. 

4- Prioritize public transportation

There is no easier time to use public transport than in college. Often campuses will have bike-share programs, shuttles, and buses to help students navigate easily.  These options are great because they help lessen your carbon footprint as well!

5- Learn about your campus’ sustainability initiatives

Many campuses have programs to help students be more eco-friendly.  These can include community gardens, food recovery programs, recycling, clothing swaps, and even composting initiatives.  If your campus doesn’t have sustainability programs, chat with your campus leaders about starting one.  It’s a great way to get involved and even make new friends!

What ways have you made your living space more environmentally friendly?