20 tips for staying green in college
Politics and Activism

20 Ways to Stay Green in a College Dorm Room

From lightbulbs to laundry, here are 20 quick tips for staying green and energy-efficient on campus.


Heading off to college doesn't mean you have to give up your love for Mother Earth. There are tons of ways for you to stay green even in a college dorm room. If you start planning for an environmentally-friendly approach when gathering your supplies, bedding, appliances and more, you can set yourself up to be one green, Earth-loving being in that cozy little space of yours. Living in a dorm doesn't mean things are out of your control—you'd be surprised at how many things you actually do have control over, even if you aren't paying the utility bills yourself. Whether it's adding a few plants to your desk, washing all of your laundry on cold, using reusable grocery bags or switching to CFL bulbs, here are 20 ways you can stay green in your dorm.

1. Recycle


Those little blue bins are all over campus, so use them whenever you can. Bring one into your room too.

2. Go easy on the AC


To help you stay cool during the summer, put up a window air conditioner. The size of your AC unit depends on the size of your room—a small one might be perfect for your space, and using a smaller AC is more energy efficient. To save energy, only turn it on when the heat is unbearable.

3. Turn everything off


If you're not using lights or appliances, turn them off. Plug everything into a surge protector and switch it off as you're leaving for the day.

4. Go paperless


Over 40 percent of municipal solid waste is paper—that's about 71.8 million tons every year! Reduce that waste by going paperless. Take notes and submit assignments online and stop using paper towels.

5. Save some ink


Switch your printer to "ink saver mode." Your ink will last longer, and you'll reduce the number of ink cartridges in landfills.

6. Buy energy efficient appliances


When you're looking for a mini fridge or microwave, make sure you look for the blue energy star label. These appliances use less energy and are cheaper in the long run.

7. Air dry wherever possible


Stop using dryers on your hair and clothes. Air dry instead.

8. Switch to CFL bulbs


Wherever you can, switch to energy efficient bulbs. They typically last longer and use less energy than other light bulbs.

9. Take advantage of natural light


Open up the blinds and let the sun brighten up your room. Make it a goal to keep your overhead lights off as much as possible. Open up the blinds and let the sun brighten up your room. Make it a goal to keep your overhead lights off as much as possible.

10. Use power-saving settings


There's a reason these settings exist on devices. Program your computer, tablet, or phone to go into sleep mode after 10-15 minutes. Don't forget to turn your computers off at night, too.

11. Green your room


Literally. Add a plant or two to your desk or windowsill. Not only do they add a personal touch to your room, but they're also great for improving your room's air quality.

12. Buy natural, organic toiletries.


Organic beauty products and toiletries are not only better for the environment, but they're also better for you. Most contain fewer toxins and harmful chemicals than non-organic products.

13. Ditch plastic water bottles


Plastic water bottles and styrofoam cups are toxic to the environment. Stop using plastic bottles and buy a reusable water bottle. You'll reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and save yourself money in the long run.

14. Get reusable, shopping bags


Why use plastic grocery bags if you're going to throw them away? Invest in reusable shopping bags. Most are made from recycled, durable materials, which means it'll last you awhile.

15. Walk


One of the best things about living in a dorm room is that you're close to pretty much everything on campus. Instead of jumping in your car to get to the other side of campus, walk. Using your car as little as possible will help reduce your carbon footprint.

16. Use less water


Instead of leaving the water running while you're brushing your teeth or shaving, turn it off. Also, instead of standing in the shower for 30 minutes, take shorter showers. You'll save both water and energy.

17. Avoid disposable dishes


It's college—paper plates and plastic cups are part of the experience. That doesn't mean you can't use reusable dishes wherever possible. Buy some glass dishes and keep them in your room. Whenever you're snacking or eating dinner in your room, use them instead of disposable dishes.

18. Select the cold cycle


When you're doing laundry, use cold water to wash your clothes. It's an easy way to save energy and prevent carbon pollution. Plus, it's better for your clothes.

19. Use natural cleaning products


Avoid cleaning your room with toxic, hazardous, non-biodegradable cleaning products. Use natural products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oils. Or look for products made from biodegradable, non-toxic materials.

20. Get cozy with organic bedding


When you're buying sheets, pillows, and blankets for your room, look for organic bedding. Organic cotton bedding uses less water and is grown without harmful pesticides, which is way better for the planet.

Maintaining your green lifestyle in a dorm room is actually pretty easy. It's all about staying committed to your love for Mother Earth and your eco-friendly lifestyle.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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