While getting an education, whether it is high school, university or beyond, it may be hard to live a sustainable lifestyle. Being green in school will not get in the way of your learning, it is simply making small decisions that take little to no time or effort but can make a huge impact. 

Here are a few ideas to live a more sustainable life while being a student:

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In the Classroom:

Take Electronic Notes:

This cuts out a lot of paper waste for you each semester. If you find that you do not learn as well when you type versus writing it out, try to use recycled loose leaf paper and store it in a paper folder. This will allow you to recycle everything after use!


Refillable Pens and Recycled Pencils:

This way you don’t have to throw away your pen after it’s empty. I find this fountain pen easiest to use and these newspaper pencils to be quite handy!

Rent or Buy Used Books:

Instead of buying new books every semester, opt to rent or buy used if you can! Saves you lots of money and waste! You can also re-sell your books at the end too! My school does not have us buy books, but I have heard that this website is really great.

Use Binder Clips Instead of Staples:

Staples are a one-time thing, you can reuse binder clips year after year!

In the Cafeteria:

Eat Less Meat:

If we all went meatless one day a week, it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road. By simply cutting meat a little bit you can make a huge difference. Join the movement and try “Meatless Mondays”. It’s a great place to start.

Take Only What You Can Eat:

Going up three times to get more food is better than throwing away a plateful! It takes a lot to produce everything we eat, it is important to try to waste as little food as possible.

Use Reusable Cutlery and Dishes:

Some schools use single-use everything for every meal. Three meals a day…that waste will add up really quick. Try bringing your own water bottle around campus, bring your own fork and spoon, and bring a dish if they use paper plates.

My Favorite Bamboo Cutlery

My Favorite Stainless Steel Dish

Carry Your Own Waterbottle:

Instead of carrying a plastic bottle, try to carry a reusable one and fill it up around campus.

My Favorite Water Bottle

Choose to Dine In:

Sometimes when you eat in, they will give you a plate instead of a single use container. Instead of taking every meal to-go, give dinging in a try!


Walk, Bike, Take the Bus, Carpool When Possible:

By simply cutting down how much you drive alone, you will cut down on your CO2 emissions immensely.



At Home:

Use Reusable Bags:

When you go shopping, grab a reusable bag instead of a plastic one! I use these grocery bags and these produce bags.


Compost Your Scraps:

If you don’t have a compost pile at home, almost every community has one for the public to dump it! Check your local landfill or community center. You can collect it at home in a compost bin like this one and dump it elsewhere!



Many schools have advanced recycling programs for you to take full advantage of; paper, plastic labeled #1-7, cardboard, clean, empty glass bottles, and clean aluminum foil can all be recycled.


Conserve Water:

Here is a great guide on how to conserve water easily!


Know How to Use Your Thermostat:

If you have control over the heat or air conditioning, make sure you know what temperature is best for your room. If you have the windows open, try turning your heat and A/C off. The fresh air is way better anyway!



With Your Electronics:

Use Sleep Mode On Your Laptop:

Your computer will drain less battery when in sleep mode or when it is off! Try not to have a screen saver, it just drains your battery and energy.


Unplug Them When Not in Use:

Unplug your hair dryer, chargers, etc when you aren’t using them. When something is plugged in, even if you aren’t using it, it is pulling residual energy.


Print As Little As Possible:

Print only when needed for a class assignment or when it will enhance your learning experience- you are still there to get the job done, don’t cut corners there to save a little paper 🙂


Turn Off Lights and TVs When You Are Gone:

It is only drawing more energy when you aren’t even utilizing it!


It might be hard being a student and attempting to live a sustainable lifestyle but you can find ways that are quick and easy. If you have any more tips, comment them below!


Read these popular posts on sustainable living too:


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