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101 Ways to Go Green in College

As a student, there are lots of things you can do to be more environmentally friendly. Whether you’re participating in campus recycling or practicing conservation in your dorm room, you can make a difference. Read on to learn about 101 ways to go green in college.


Try these ways to take advantage of recycling on campus.

  1. Look for recycling bins: Use recycling bins around campus and create one for your room.
  2. Recycle your electronics: Don’t throw away your old cell phone or laptop-find a recycling center.
  3. Know recycling rules: Make sure you don’t send in anything that can’t be processed.
  4. Recycle paper: Even in this digital age, students generate lots of paper-be sure it finds its final place in a recycling bin.


These tips will help you reuse what you already have access to.

  1. Don’t throw away good stuff: Use sites like Craigslist and Freecycle to get rid of your old items.
  2. Reuse paper: Use back sides of paper for scraps and more.
  3. Donate supplies to artists: Give paper towel tubes, rubber bands, even oven doors to artists who can use them.
  4. Repurpose items: Use empty cans for pencil holders, turn old shoe boxes into storage, and more.
  5. Get used textbooks: Get used textbooks from stores, classmates, or websites.


With these tips, you can reduce the waste you generate.

  1. Be thrifty: Shop at a thrift store to reuse old items and avoid waste from production.
  2. Buy green: Buy recycled products whenever possible.
  3. Be picky: Don’t buy lots of unnecessary items-you’ll save money and the environment.
  4. Carry a refillable water bottle: Instead of buying plastic water bottles each day, bring your own to refill.


These are some of the ways you can be green while shopping.

  1. Use canvas bags: Keep an extra canvas bag in your backpack for shopping.
  2. Buy local: Buy your furnishings and supplies locally.
  3. Buy in bulk: Cut down on packaging by purchasing items in bulk.


Stay clean and green with these methods.

  1. Handwash: Conserve electricity and water by hand washing your clothes.
  2. Use green cleaning products: Choose biodegradable cleaning products with minimal toxins for your dorm room.
  3. Line-dry clothing: Cut down on costs and save energy by drying your clothes on a line.
  4. Only wash full loads: Save water and energy by only washing loads at capacity.
  5. Make your own cleaning products: Use ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon for non-toxic cleaning.
  6. Use cold water: Cut down on electricity and heat damage to your clothing by using cold water in your washing machine.
  7. Consolidate products: Buy a two in one shampoo plus conditioner to cut down on packaging.

Dorm Life

Follow these methods to make your dorm more environmentally friendly.

  1. Take shorter showers: Save thousands of gallons and pounds of CO2 by reducing your shower time.
  2. Use plants instead of air fresheners: Instead of plug in air fresheners, you can use plants that improve indoor air quality.
  3. Decorate with recyclable materials: Use decor that you can recycle when you’ve outgrown it or move out later.
  4. Create a handmade lamp: Recycle jars with a lighting fixture to create your own lamp.
  5. Buy organic cotton sheets: Avoid toxicity by investing in organic cotton linens.
  6. Use compact fluorescent bulbs: Instead of using overhead dorm lights, use a lamp with a compact fluorescent light bulb.
  7. Give up air conditioning: Turn on a fan, open a window, or take a cold shower.
  8. Use a programmable thermostat: Program your thermostat to be comfortable when you’re in your dorm room or apartment, and higher or lower in temperature when you’re not.
  9. Turn off your lights: Use natural light whenever possible.
  10. Turn off the water: Be sure to turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth.
  11. Unplug electronics: Save energy by turning off and unplugging electronics.


Make your supplies green with these tips.

  1. Use refillable pens and pencils: Avoid waste by refilling writing utensils instead of throwing them away.
  2. Download energy saving applications: With certain applications, you can save energy on your computer.
  3. Use an e-reader: With an e-reader like Kindle, you can download books instead of buying paper items.
  4. Save your supplies: Keep your supplies and reuse them from semester to semester.
  5. Use binders instead of notebooks: Save waste by reusing notebooks and using single sheets of paper.
  6. Write to the edge of your paper: If you’re just taking notes, don’t bother staying within the margins.
  7. Get a solar backpack: Use a solar backpack to charge your laptop, gadgets, and more.
  8. Rent your textbooks: Save money and the environment by renting your textbooks.
  9. Share textbooks: Save paper and money, and study together with a classmate.
  10. Take inventory: Know what you have and avoid duplicates.
  11. Print carefully: Cut down on printing by choosing carefully what you’d like to print.
  12. Use low quality settings on your printing: Print in draft mode for items you don’t need to turn in, and you’ll save ink.
  13. Print on both sides: For notes, directions, and more, save paper by printing on both sides.
  14. Use recycled paper: Print and take notes on recycled paper.
  15. Take digital notes: Save yourself the trouble of writing on paper by typing your notes on a laptop.


Follow these tips to have environmentally friendly clothing.

  1. Shop at thrift stores: Save money and the environment by shopping for clothing at thrift stores.
  2. Go vintage: Get vintage accessories, clothing, and more.
  3. Take care of your stuff: Repair items instead of replacing them, and treat them kindly to extend their life.
  4. Swap clothes: Share and swap clothes among your friends.
  5. Avoid chasing trends: Avoid wastefulness by investing in classics.
  6. Purchase fair trade items: Improve the livelihoods of workers around the world by purchasing fair trade.
  7. Shop indie: Stay away from big box retailers and support local boutiques instead.

Transportation & Travel

Make your travel and transportation greener with these tips.

  1. Walk: Most college campuses are very friendly for walking.
  2. Carpool: Split the cost and the emissions of transportation by carpooling with friends.
  3. Use local resources: Find something fun to do around campus instead of going somewhere far flung.
  4. Ride the bus: Use public transportation to get to class instead of driving.
  5. Ride your bike: You can easily bike around campus.
  6. Take a road trip close to home: Go on a road trip with your friends to save gas together.
  7. Take an eco-trip: Go somewhere with sustainable housing, low-impact activities, and local support.


Eat green on campus and off with these tips.

  1. Go local: Buy seasonal, local food to cut down on miles and support your community.
  2. Eat plants: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to go greener.
  3. Eat what you take: If you have an all you can eat cafeteria, make sure you only take what you know you’re going to eat.
  4. Plan your meals: Save money on groceries by putting together a game plan ahead of time.
  5. Stay away from packaging: Eat unpackaged or minimally packaged foods.
  6. Go meat-free: You can cut your carbon footprint by eating less meat, or none at all.
  7. Create a window box garden: Grow some of your own food in a window box.
  8. Invest in organic: Keep yourself and the world healthy by purchasing organic food items.
  9. Use cloth napkins: Stop using disposable napkins by using cloth.
  10. Avoid disposable cups and plates: Use inexpensive plates instead of disposables.
  11. Go raw: Cut down on the energy of preparing food by eating fresh, raw foods.
  12. Save your leftovers: Don’t waste food-eat what’s left over again later.
  13. Invest in a water filter: Easily filter water to put in your reusable bottle.
  14. Use eco friendly appliances: Use a microwave, toaster, and rice cookers for green cooking.
  15. Drink low waste beverages: Go for water, canned items, and concentrated drinks.
  16. Bring a reusable mug: If you’re going to drink a lot of coffee, use your own mug instead of disposable cups.
  17. Limit paper napkins: Cut down on paper napkins with fast food.
  18. Take advantage of smart choices: If your school offers it, look for local, organic, and fair trade food choices.


Follow these methods, and you can make your electronics greener.

  1. Try to upgrade instead of replacing: Before replacing electronics, find out if a simple upgrade will do.
  2. Buy used: Extend the lifetime of a gadget by purchasing used.
  3. Buy items that will last: Avoid items that will ultimately end up in the trash.
  4. Go paperless: Switch to paperless mailings for your monthly statements.
  5. Keep your gadgets as long as possible: Weigh the options before replacing your gadgets.
  6. Get energy efficient electronics: Check ratings to find the most energy efficient gadgets before you purchase them.

Getting Involved

Make a difference for yourself and others on campus by adopting these ideas.

  1. Lobby for water savings: Talk to administrators about low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.
  2. Encourage green food: Let your school know that you want organic, fair trade, vegan, and vegetarian options for food.
  3. Ask for a recycling program: If your school doesn’t already have recycling bins or a program, ask that they start one.
  4. Be a role model: Practice what you preach, and inspire others.
  5. Start a rally: Educate others on the environmental movement by holding a rally.
  6. Start a composting program: Get together with your school’s landscaping office and start a composting program for food waste.
  7. Join green student groups: Get together with like minded students on campus.
  8. Pick a green school: Find a school that supports your eco-friendly ways.
  9. Request lighting sensors: Ask that campus building lights be put on timers and sensors to save energy in empty rooms.
  10. Get your cafeteria to go trayless: Keep waste to a minimum by stopping the use of trays that can be overfilled.
  11. Start a campus garden: Create beautiful produce on campus with your classmates.
  12. Support local businesses: Cut down on transportation and help out your campus community by supporting local businesses.
  13. Put together a green campus guide: Write a guide that students can use to be more environmentally friendly.
  14. Host a paper drive: Put together a drive to collect recyclable paper at the end of every semester to save paper from the trash can.

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