Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Subtle Sustainable Swaps for a Greener College Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

Hi everyone!

As many of us know, we are in the middle of a massive climate crisis. College students make up a significant portion of those who advocate for change in policy that will positively impact the Earth. Although the true emphasis is on corporations and governments to do their part in implementing sustainability, small changes in our individual lives can make huge positive impacts on the Earth. Here are a few changes I have personally made with the well-being of the world in mind.

Plastic to reusable silverware

I try to carry a set of reusable silverware in my bag everywhere I go! My college is still using plasticware in the dining hall due to COVID-19 concerns, so I like to eat with my personal silverware and clean them after each use. The easiest way to do this is to just get an old fork and spoon from home and place them in a pouch or an old pencil case! If you want silverware specific for on the go, here is an affordable set from Target!

Plastic to reusable shopping bags

This is another great item to have on hand at all times. I personally use a little canvas tote bag I have had for years, but a compactable one is perfect as well. With a reusable bag on hand at all times, if you happen to need to purchase a textbook from the bookstore in the middle of the day you won’t have to decide between dragging it back to your dorm and accepting a plastic bag! Here is a reusable bag from Walmart with a pouch to fold it into!

Bottles to bars

This swap was a little tricky for me, as I have communal showers and carry my products around in a caddy. I will admit, it is not as easy to carry shower bars as it is bottles. However, reusable tins to keep products dry are very affordable and worth the extra purchase in my opinion. Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and even face wash is all available in bar form! At this time, I only use bar shampoo and soap! Here’s one of my recommendations for a shampoo bar from Target!

Paper coffee cups to reusable mug

We are also currently using paper coffee cups in the dining hall due to COVID-19 concerns, so using a personal mug is a great way to limit personal waste. You can pick up an old mug from your local goodwill for just a few dollars to sip on while you’re in the dining hall. Or, if you’re like me and like to take your coffee and tea on the go, you can invest in a mug with a lid!

Plastic to bamboo toothbrushes

This is one of the easiest ways to add a little sustainability to your hygiene routine. A plastic toothbrush can take up to 1000 years to decompose, whereas a bamboo toothbrush can break down in just 3-4 years due to it being plant-based! They can occasionally be a little more expensive, but it’s a great deal when you can find them in these value packs at stores like Target or Walmart!

Saying no to fast fashion

The first golden rule to sustainability is to use what you already have first. The second is to try second hand. Instead of going to a fast fashion website for a much-needed new sweater, try checking out the local thrift stores. I personally love Goodwill and have recently discovered the Savers we have up here in New England!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully these suggestions help you implement some sustainable practices as a college student!

If you would like to write for Her Campus Mount Holyoke, or if you have any questions or comments for us, please email hc.mtholyoke@hercampus.com

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Abby Murphy

Mt Holyoke '23

Mount Holyoke College '23 Education Psychology & Policy Georgia > Massachusetts Learning and Unlearning