8 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Waste in College

What is the zero-waste movement? It is a movement dedicated to attempting to reduce your impact on the environment by creating little to no waste. People who are 100% zero-waste produce absolutely no waste outside of recycling and composting. Although that seems like a very ambitious task (especially for a college student) there are many easy ways you can reduce your waste even by just a little on campus!

1. Carry a water bottle.

 

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This one seems like the most simple one but it can make a huge impact. Instead of buying plastic water bottles in bulk, invest in a reusable water bottle! There are water fountains in every building on campus so you’ll always be hydrated and you can decorate yours with stickers that show off your personality and differentiate it from other peoples.

 

2. Travel mug

 

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This one goes hand in hand with having a reusable water bottle but a travel mug is essential if you’re as much as over-caffeinated, sleep deprived student as I am. Also at many coffee shops (like Saxby’s!!)  if you use your own travel mug you get a discount which I would call a win/win.

 

3. Metal Straw

 

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This has recently gained popularity given the anti-straw movement that is going on both on campus (see paper straws) and nationally (see Starbucks) but it really easy an easy solution for a very common single use plastic. Plus everything tastes better through a straw.

 

4. Refusing free giveaways

 

This one doesn’t involve any purchasing but is a big part of reducing your waste. A lot of time at club fairs and events you get so excited about the free giveaways but end up forgetting about them until a year later you and then it goes straight in the trash. By thinking about whether you’re really going to use what you’re picking up you can reduce a ton of waste (and clutter in your probably already tiny room).

 

5. Reusable silverware

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Pretty self explanatory but very useful for takeout or quick FML eating!

 

6. Borrowing clothes for special events/shopping secondhand

 

Many of us know the stress of trying to online shop before a date party only to have your dress come and not fit or to wear it once and then never wear it again. Save time, energy, and money by first asking your friends for options. Usually you’ll be able to find a gorgeous dress they might have forgotten they even owned!

 

Another option that is great for all events, but specifically mocos, is shopping secondhand. A lot of time you can find super wacky, cool stuff at local thrift stores for a ton cheaper than what you could find in the store and you’re closing the cycle of that item!

 

7. Bring your own recycling bin if you’re room doesn’t come with one

 

When you don’t actually have a recycling bin in your room it’s hard to remember to sort out your trash. Easy fix is buying a $5 mini trash from any store near you and putting it next to your trash can so you don’t have to go out of your way to recycle!

 

8. Bar Shampoo/ soap/ face wash

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Swapping your shampoo/face and body washes for bar versions is an easy way to cut down on a ton of plastic. A lot of people don’t realize that bar shampoo even exists but it is a lot more portable than a regular bottle of shampoo and it lasts the same amount of time.