Little Ways to Be More Environmentally Friendly in a Dorm

Living in a dorm is definitely a challenge in itself, and there may not seem to be very many eco-friendly options at first glance. Plastic water bottles seem easier because you don’t have to refill them and straws are used out of habit and convenience.

If there were easy ways to be eco-friendly, would you try them?

If you answered yes, this article is for you.

Here are five easy tips to try to incorporate into your life:


1. Reusable Water Bottles

Did you know that every year in the United States 17 million barrels of oil are used to create 50 billion disposable water bottles?

A great step in reducing your carbon footprint is making the switch from disposable, plastic water bottles to a reusable one. It’s cheaper in the long run because you don’t have to constantly buy those heavy cases of water, and will end up being more convenient (you always have something to fill up with water. Not being thirsty = an improvement to being thirsty.)


2. Skip the Plastic Straw (& lid)

We hear a lot about limiting our plastic straw usage, but what about the lids? If you are eating in at a restaurant that offers disposable cups, try to skip the plastic. Plastic straws and lids are actually designed for those on-the-go, so if you are eating in you don’t really face the risk of spilling something. The paper cups work just as well- and you don’t have to use the plastic.

This may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but if just one person consciously thinks about their plastic consumption in their lifetime, that’s a LOT of plastic not being used. (The average North American uses about 220 pounds of plastic in just a year- so imagine how many pounds we use in a lifetime.)


3. Take a Reusable Cup to Starbucks

As college students, we all need our caffeine, and a great place to feed this addiction is at Starbucks. Did you know that Starbucks offers a small discount if you bring a reusable cup for your drink? Saving money AND the environment sounds pretty good to me.


4. Reusable K-Cups

This environmentally friendly hack also involves coffee. If you own a Keurig, you know about the plastic K-cups that you have to buy that only work for this form of coffee maker.

However, there are reusable versions of K-cups available for purchase that you can fill with your own ground coffee. Most are dishwasher friendly and easy to clean and refill.


5. Go Paperless

Many students choose to write their notes down the old-fashioned way with a pencil and a pad of paper, but if you switch to typing your notes there may be some benefits. Not only can notes and assignments be backed up, but it’s also an easy way to limit paper use.


While living an eco-friendly life may seem daunting, these easy tricks can really add up to make a big difference. So the next time you reach for that straw at Chick-fil-a, remember these tips and skip it instead!


image credit: 1