10 Zero Waste Tips for College Students

Zero Waste Tips for Your Eco-Friendly College Experience

  1. Reusable Water Bottle: Invest in a good quality reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on campus. It’s an easy way to avoid single-use plastic bottles and reduce waste. Many college campuses have water fountains or water bottle refilling stations. This is especially helpful in southern Arizona to keep your drink icy cold on hot days.

  2. Bring Your Own Utensils: Carry a set of reusable utensils (fork, knife, and spoon) with you. This way, you can avoid using disposable plastic utensils when eating on campus or getting takeout.

  3. Cloth Shopping Bags: Always carry a reusable cloth bag or tote for groceries, books, or any other items you pick up during the day. It's an effective way to avoid using single-use plastic bags.

  4. Meal Planning and Cooking: Plan your meals for the week and cook in larger batches. This reduces food waste and saves time and money. Use reusable containers to store leftovers.

  5. Choose Sustainable Materials: When buying school supplies, opt for items made from sustainable materials such as recycled paper, bamboo, or refillable pens and pencils.

  6. Digital Textbooks and Notes: Whenever possible, use digital textbooks and take notes on your laptop or tablet. Not only does this save paper, but it also makes your backpack lighter!

  7. Composting: Check if your college has a composting program. If not, consider starting one with like-minded peers. Composting food scraps can significantly reduce your ecological footprint.

  8. DIY Cleaning Products: Make your cleaning products using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. This minimizes the use of harmful chemicals and reduces packaging waste.

  9. Choose Eco-Friendly Dorm Decor: When decorating your dorm room, opt for eco-friendly and sustainable items. Consider second-hand furniture, LED lights, and items made from natural materials.

  10. Join Sustainable Clubs on Campus: Get involved with clubs like the University of Arizona's Students for Sustainability, or create a zero waste club on your campus. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, share ideas, and work together to implement zero waste practices on campus.

By following these simple tips, college students can significantly reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Take your sustainability even further with these bonus ideas:

  • Travel on foot, by bike, or on Tucson's fare-free transit. That includes busses and the streetcar
  • Shop local as much as possible, and choose places that offer local goods and produce
  • Support your local growers at farmers markets: In Tucson, we recommend Heirloom Farmers Market, and Santa Cruz River FM
  • Need 'new' stuff? Before buying new, join a Buy Nothing Group, use Freecycle.org, or buy secondhand at thrift shops or Facebook marketplace
  • Engage with local, state, and national politics: Tell leaders to prioritize sustainability and protecting the natural environment, and recruit your friends and family to do the same

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