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5 Ways to be a Sustainable Hottie in College

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

With Earth Day coming up, the topic of sustainability is at an all-time high. We know the basics of reducing, reusing and recycling, but how do we apply that to our lifestyle as women in college? Fortunately for us, practicing sustainability is extremely cost-effective, and what college student doesn’t want cost-effective alternatives for their everyday habits? For VCU specifically, and any college in the city, practicing sustainability is the only way to ensure that our presence as college students does not completely burden the community around us. So let’s look at 5 Ways to be a Sustainable Hottie in College.

Reusable water bottles and Starbucks Cups

As we know there are a plethora of water fountains in every building at VCU, and even a few in Monroe Park. Why go out and buy plastic single-use water bottles, which aren’t even cute, when you could buy one or two reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles come in a trillion shapes, colors and patterns. Show off your aesthetic and personality through your reusable water bottles, and ditch that pathetic piece of plastic.

In addition, when you make your weekly or (for some of us) daily Starbucks runs, bring in your reusable Starbucks cup, and the barista will literally make your drink in that cup. Why carry around the same exact cup as every other student on this campus, when you could enjoy your caramel macchiato in a super cute, heavy-duty reusable cup. With that being said, Starbucks will take 10 cents off of your total when you bring in your own cup to get your drink made.

American Eagle Jean Recycle Program

If y’all are anything like me, then you love a cute pair of mom jeans from American Eagle. In an effort to be a more sustainable company, American Eagle has created a Jean Recycling program, just for their Real Rewards Members. At any American Eagle store, you can turn in any pair of jeans, from any brand, for $10 off your next pair of jeans from the store. I honestly don’t think it gets better than that. The only requirements are that the jeans are clean, and at least 90 percent cotton. Imagine if you turned in three pairs of jeans that you didn’t want anymore, and got $30 off your new pair!


Living in the digital age, there are so many alternatives to using pen and paper. Obviously, as college students, we have to take notes during lectures, which can take up hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper per semester. Nowadays, typing your notes on your laptop is not the only paperless option. I personally love to take notes on my iPad with my apple pen. I use the app GoodNotes, which only costs $8.99 on the App Store. Keep in mind that there are paper notebooks out there that cost the same.

I also download all of my textbooks and books I read for fun onto my iPad. I understand that the iPad option is a little too expensive for some, so I have another alternative for my girls looking to be paperless. The brand Rocketbook sells a reusable notebook on Amazon that lets you send your handwritten notes straight to your Google Drive! Trust me; once you go paperless, you will never look back.

Tote Bags

If you haven’t yet gotten the memo, tote bags are in. Tote bags come in an array of designs, graphics, sizes and durability levels. When you take that trip to Kroger, Whole Foods or even Target, consider bringing a large tote bag to carry your purchases in rather than a plastic or paper bag. Most stores including Amazon carry so many different tote bag options, so find the one for you, and incorporate it into your daily life. Also, newsflash for my Telfar owners, the shopping bag is meant to be used as just that: a shopping bag. Your medium and large Telfars are perfect for carrying things from the store. Obviously, proceed with caution when putting liquid items in the bag, but for $200 you must use that bag for any and everything.

Reusable Period Products

As women, our periods are probably the least sustainable times in our life. Going through pad after pad, tampon after tampon, it gets super frustrating and super expensive. While I think we should do whatever we please, and use whatever we please during our periods, here are a few more sustainable options.

Flex Discs are a great alternative to traditional tampons. The Flex Disc is single-use but can last for up to 12 hours before disposal. Flex Discs claims to “generate 60 percent less waste than tampons and pads.” That statistic is incredible considering it does the exact same thing as a tampon.

Menstrual Cups are an even more sustainable alternative for periods. The menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours and is completely reusable. The cup can be kind of a headache to clean, but many sources say to put the cup in boiling water to thoroughly clean it. Menstrual cups are definitely more expensive up front, but it is definitely worth it considering they can be used for years.

Period Panties are a hot topic right now and are seen as a great alternative as well. With the period panty, there is no need for a tampon or pad. It’s basically like free bleeding, without the worry of messing up your clothes. I personally recommend the period panties for those light flow days, but it is totally up to you. Many period panties come in multi-packs and can be washed and reused like regular underwear.

While all of the methods I shared with you are proven to be great for promoting sustainability in college, it’s up to your discretion to fit them into your lifestyle in whichever way you please. Be a sustainable hottie this Earth Day!

Madison Traylor is a Business Marketing student at VCU! She is a new writer a HCVCU, and her interests are music, film, and self care.