Sustainable Living: A College Student's Guide

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

As a college student, you already have a lot to balance; academics, social life, finances, internships, and more. Living sustainably probably is not something you’re super conscious of, as a busy student. However, there are numerous small changes you can implement into your daily life that take little to no time and effort, and can actually save you money in the process!

Here are 10 simple changes you can make to live sustainable as a student:

Take Notes Electronically

Thankfully, most of the world is digitally focused, and your studies can be too! You’ll save money on purchasing notebooks and flashcards, if you begin to electronically take down what you need to remember from class.

Saving money + reducing paper waste = win win for everyone!

Use Reusable Bags

Keep reusable bags in your car, so you always remember them when you go shopping. Reusable is always a better option than plastic, and even paper. Single-use bags are wasteful and unnecessary — and several bags with every shopping trip can add up to a whole lot of garbage in a lifetime.

Many retail establishments will even PAY YOU $.05-$.10 per bag you use!

Cut-Out Plastic Water Bottles

Reducing plastic waste is one of our main goals here at Rippl, so this is a no-brainer for us. According to The Water Project, it is estimated that up to 80% of water bottles in the U.S never get recycled. In addition, it takes three times the amount of water that is in a water bottle to create the plastic in the first place! Reusable bottles are available for purchase everywhere nowadays, so there is no excuse.

Be sure to get one that is BPA free!


Refer to our blog post about recycling for more info!

Walk & Bike More

...or scooter, jog, or roller-blade — whatever feels right! Although many colleges don’t allow freshmen to have a car on campus, most upperclassmen can. Instead of driving everywhere, find an alternative, more natural means of transportation. Getting active will save you money on gas, boost your mood, and kick start a healthier lifestyle.

Support Sustainable Brands

When it comes to beauty and household products, be sure to purchase products that don’t test on animals. Here is a list of eco-friendly product labels and logos. For information on sustainable fashion brands, refer to our blog post!

Don’t Purchase Aerosol Sprays

Goes along with #6! Aerosol sprays are harmful to the layers of the atmosphere, and can contribute to the deterioration of the ozone layer! With millions of beauty products on the market, its easy to find products in pump sprays as an alternative.

Be Conscious of your Water Usage

Remember to turn off the water when brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving! In addition, cutting down your shower time can save more water, and make a bigger impact than you may think!

Save Energy

This may seem like a simple one, but setting your thermostat a few degrees lower, or your A/C a few degrees higher can make all the difference. Chances are, you won’t notice, but rest assured, the environment will!

Eat Fewer Animal Products

Maybe the most important item on this list! Raising livestock produces large amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment. According to a United Nations report, “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.” Eating less meat – even omitting it from a meal one day a week – can positively influence change. When you do eat meat, look for labels that specify free range, organic and hormone and antibiotic free.

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