eco-friendly life at college

Tips on how to live an eco-friendly life at college

In Student Mingle, Sustainable Fashion by Scarlet Jenkins

Living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is something that everyone should be actively working towards, but it’s not always that easy, especially when you’re at college. If you are already at school, you will know the challenges that come with trying to live an eco-friendly life at college, especially when you are on a budget.

Seeing the trash cans pile up with coffee cups and single-use containers from ready-made meals, is really frustrating when you know that they’re most likely going to end up in a landfill somewhere, but there are alternatives! There are lots of things you can do at home or in college, that will help you live a more eco-friendly life at college, and they’re not actually that hard. 

5 green living tips for living an eco-friendly life at college

1. Bring a bag

Let’s start off easy, bring your own bag when you go shopping. Yes, it sounds so simple, and you may think it won’t make a difference, but Americans use over 100 billion plastic bags a year, with only 1% being recycled, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, so it’s definitely a worthy cause.

There are plenty of stylish reusable bags on the market, such as EcoRight reusable bags or LA Pop Design’s reusable bags. You can fold up the reusable bags into a tiny ball so that you can carry it around and just whip it out when needed. It will also save you the plastic bag charge, that I know seems like nothing, but every penny counts right?

2. Buy your food with your friends

In the US 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year, according to, which not only is terrible for the environment when they begin to rot in landfills but it’s also an excessive amount when you consider 41 million of Americans suffer from hunger, according to Feeding America.

So a great alternative is to buy in bulk with your friends/housemates. Once a week get together and plan out your weekly shop, then take it in turns cooking a big amount each night. You will notice a lot less food going in the trash every night, but it will also save you all some money too.

3. Shop at thrift and charity shops

Shopping at charity and thrift stores might already be something you love to do, but not only is it super fashionable to wear vintage but it is also super eco-friendly. Fast fashion is taking over the fashion industry, and the creation of clothing is extremely wasteful and has huge impacts on the environment, so buying second-hand clothes is a great way to stop contributing to this phenomenon. Read more about it here.

4. Rent clothing

Hear me out, renting clothes might sound off-putting, but it’s actually a great way to stay on the trends without having to spend your paycheck on an expensive dress for formal that you are only going to wear once. 

The other perk of this new form of fashion is that you are not contributing to fast fashion and its impact on the environment. Read more about it here

5. Reusable cups

If you are a coffee fanatic, you will know how expensive your daily dose is, especially on campus. A way to save the environment, as well as some extra pennies, is to buy your own reusable coffee cup. You will be surprised to hear that some big brand coffee shops, like Starbucks, offer a small discount on your coffee if you bring your own cup, you just have to tell the barista when you order. 

In the US, 16 billion single-use cups of coffee are bought a year, a number that could be reduced significantly if we started to bring our own, and like I said you can save a couple of cents on your coffee. 

There are plenty of fashionable reusable cups that you will love to carry around campus, for example, Frank Greens reusable cups which are super stylish with a minimalistic touch. Another great cup is Huskup reusable eco coffee cup, made from corn husks making it a super eco-friendly fashionable option. 

For more about living a healthier lifestyle at school, sign up for a Fashion Mingle profile now! Be sure to check out our weekly student newsletter for more student facts and for more ways to live and eco-friendly life at college, at Student Mingle.

About Scarlet Jenkins

Scarlet is currently a junior Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences student from the University of Birmingham, majoring in Geography and Journalism, who has just returned from a year abroad at San Francisco State University. In her spare time, she loves to travel and explore new places.

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