How to Go Green on a College Budget

Her Campus TCNJ wishes collegiettes a Happy Earth Day on April 22 - let's take care of the Earth, it's the only one we've got.


Without your parents bugging you to turn the lights off, it’s easy to forget about being environmentally conscious at college. Whether you’re about to start your first year or you’re graduating soon, there are many ways to go green without having to pass on convenience or high-quality products.

Here are just a few ways that every college student can give Earth a break without having to revamp their life.

Natural Beauty

Thirty-three percent of personal-care products contain at least one cancer-linked chemical, according to planetgreen.com. An easy way to go green and protect yourself from harmful chemicals is buying organic body and face washes, lotions, make-up, and other products you use daily. Organic brands to look for are Tom’s of Maine, available at most mass retailers, and Korres, which you can order online. These products are developed without harmful chemicals, animal testing, artificial colors or fragrances. You might spend a little extra on these products, but your body will benefit and you will feel the difference.

A lot of products say “natural,” but check the labels because there is typically no difference between them and the items you regularly purchase. Whole Foods Market only sells products that meet the company’s high quality standards to ensure you are buying all-natural items. Check this website for suggestions before you hit the stores.

Breath-taking workouts
Everyone is looking to lose weight before summer, and a great eco-friendly way is to exercise outside. According to planetgreen.com, a treadmill produces two pounds of CO2 during a 30-minute workout. Walking and running are much more enjoyable in fresh air, and you won’t be polluting the environment.

Freecycle your dorm!
One great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to find used dorm furniture locally by checking eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle. Don’t forget to sell these items or pass them along when you graduate. Organic cotton bed sheets and towels, which can be found at most retailers, use untreated seeds and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If you live off campus, look for organic cotton mattresses. These products are better for you and the environment.

Carpool to school
If you live off campus with five other girls and you all go to campus at the same time every day and return at the same time, carpool. Not only will it eliminate parking lot frustration, it will save all of you gas money. According to treehugger.com, one gallon of gas produces 19.4 pounds of CO2. Even if your schedules don’t match up perfectly, catching up on some reading in the library is a great way to pass the time. If you live close enough, try biking or even walking in warmer months. You’ll burn calories while you help reduce your carbon footprint.

Reuse, Rent, and be happy!

According to planetgreen.com, every student generates about 240 pounds of waste each year. Stop buying new stuff! Nobody needs a new backpack, shiny new shoes, or new clothes every year. Look at what you have from previous semesters or years and think of ways to patch them, wear them, and look fabulous. Buying notebooks, pencils, paper and other supplies made from recycled materials and printing double-sided are easy ways to reduce waste. Also, renting textbooks from great sites like chegg.com and barenesandnoble.com reduces the amount of textbooks that need to be produced…and you’ll save money.

Remember collegiettes, going green saves green – how can you say no to that?