Sustainability Made Simple: Eco-Friendly Habits That Cater to the College-Student Lifestyle

Leading an environmentally-friendly lifestyle does not have to be a luxury! Here are 6 simple changes you can adopt today with the college budget and lifestyle in mind. 

  1. 1. Walk, Take Public Transportation, and Utilize Rideshare Apps

    The U-Pass included with tuition may be something that you are not fully taking advantage of. In addition to using the pass just to get to and from campus, try taking the bus or the Link light rail to a different neighborhood, an event, or when running an errand. Not only will those transportation costs be covered, but you also get to know the city better while being evironmentally-friendly and avoiding traffic!

    Of course, there are days where public transportation is just too much of a hassle. Perhaps you are running really late. Or maybe you are going out to a nice dinner and don’t want to take the bus while you are all dressed up. It could even be that you are carrying a lot of items and need to take a car or that the weather is just plain awful. Whatever the situation may be, UberX and Lyft are not your only options! UberPOOL and Lyft Shared are wonderful alternatives if you are fine with walking a little bit more and are not in a hurry to get to your destination. A misconception of UberPOOL is that you definitely have to walk and take a long detour. That is not always the case. Depending on when and where you are going, it is quite likely to be picked up and dropped off at your destination! I have always had good experiences with UberPOOL and a trip from the Green Lake area to Downtown usually costs around $5 at most. If you are new to Uber, get $2 off your first 3 rides by using the code rosew5215ui. For Lyft, use the code rose74945. 

  2. 2. Use Reusable Bags and Carts

    For me, living in Seattle means lots of walking. I walk to the lake, I walk to surrounding restaurants, I sometimes walk to campus, and I walk to the grocery stores. I enjoy walking because I get to exercise and take some time to myself, and walking being the most environmentally-friendly mode of transportation is certainly a plus. However, I do not enjoy carrying my groceries back with me.

    Shopping carts have been a game-changer. Each one holds three full bags of groceries and the wheels are even designed to go up and down the curb and any steps! In addition to these wonderful carts, I also bring my own reusable grocery bags and produce bags. I try to buy fruits and vegetables that are not prepackaged and instead of grabbing a plastic or paper bag for my tomatoes, I place my produce in Muslin cotton drawstring bags instead. These are one-time purchases that will eliminate hundreds and hundreds of plastic and paper bags, contributing to a world where there is less waste. Grocery stores also often give incentives to customers who bring their own bags and carts. It’s a win-win!

  3. 3. Turn off the Lights, Turn down the Heat, and Turn off Your Computer When Not in Use 

    Turning off the lights when you are leaving your dorm room or apartment can be an easy way to conserve energy, not to mention lower your electricity bills. If you are living in the dorms and are able to adjust the temperature for your specific living space, turning down the thermostat a few degrees when you know you will be gone for the whole day is also a small-but-mighty move. Additionally, if you know you won’t be using your computer for a while, turning it off could save some electricity while allowing your device to rest. 

  4. 4. Eat Less Red Meat

    Not only is too much red meat bad for your health, it is also environmentally-unfriendly. Limiting your red meat intake to once a week or less can significantly help the environment as well as your wallet, as beef usually cost for than chicken and other white meat counterparts. If you grocery shop and cook your own meals, try swapping out beef for ground turkey. Ground turkey can be used instead of beef in chillis, tacos, and casseroles, for example. Turkey is also usually leaner than beef, which makes it overall a healthier choice. 

  5. 5. Shop Second-Hand

    Stores like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading Co. are known for carrying a wide variety of used clothing and accessories at an affordable price. There are also many other consignment and thrift stores, ranging from Goodwill and Value Village to designer-only stores that exclusively carry pre-loved luxury goods. If you prefer to shop online, Poshmark and Depop are very reliable apps where you can easily find what you are looking for, follow other users to shop their closets, and even sell your own clothes. Shopping second-hand will help combat the fashion industry's waste problem, a result of fast-fashion and consumerism. If you follow trends on Instagram, plenty of bloggers and influencers sell their used clothing online as well. 


    If you are interested in getting started on Poshmark, use code ROSESCLOSETXO for $10 off your purchase. Happy shopping! 

  6. 6. Skip the Plastic, Single-Use Water Bottle

    Last but not least, get into the habit of bringing your own water bottle. Carrying around a reusable bottle is one of the best habits I have ever established. Not only am I constantly able to quench my thirst, but I feel a lot better about myself knowing that I am not contributing to the plastic pollution problem. Imagine if you bought just one bottle of water a day—that is 365 bottles per year. That is 365 plastic bottles going to the landfill. And if each bottle was $3, you end up spending $1095 annually on water. Think about where all of that money could be going to! Trust me, paying for a water bottle is a one-time investment that will surely pay off, both for the planet and for yourself. Staying hydrated directly contributes to healthy, glowing skin, gets rid of bloat, and aids in cognitive function. Our brain is 73% water, after all!