Living Sustainably in the Dorms: What to Know and Do

By Eatha Lynch on April 5, 2022

Over the last few decades, the issue of climate change has become more prevalent as college students struggle with living sustainably in dorms. As Earth Day (April 22) approaches, the idea of sustainability, eco-friendly products, and zero-waste living are flooding the social media timelines and news broadcasts, but as a college student, “waste-free” living and “eco-friendly” products are not always easy to obtain. Dorm life is not always suited for sustainability and many college students are unable to maintain the funds that a lot of eco-friendly lifestyles require. For many students, the idea of living sustainably in dorms is not only foreign but seemingly impossible.

A reusable tote bag that can be used to replace plastic shopping bags! (

What is a sustainable lifestyle? 

Before deciding whether or not you want to live sustainably, it is important to understand what sustainability in this modern era looks like and how it can be implemented into your own life! Sustainable lifestyles focus on two main ideals: one, understanding how your actions can directly impact the world around you, and two, figuring out a way to live with the least possible impact on the surrounding environment. Living sustainably is not a perfect science, it takes constant education, effort, and growth in order to adapt your lifestyle to such a wasteful world. It is important to remind yourself that sustainability is not about one person living on this earth with zero impact but many people living with increasingly smaller impacts.

What makes sustainability in a dorm difficult? 
Living sustainably in dorms is inherently difficult for a number of reasons, but one of the most significant deterrents to an eco-friendly dorm life is the lack of space to house your reusable items and the availability of monetary funds to begin your eco-friendly journey. While a lack of space in dorm rooms can be easily solved by buying extra storage space, talking to your roommates/suitemates about where you would like to store things, or condensing down and donating some of your un-needed belongs, it is much harder to solve the dilemma of monetary security. Although sustainable living can save you money in the long run, it is important to know that the transition period could be expensive as you purchase reusable dishes, cleaning items, and sustainable bathroom products.

How to incorporate sustainability as a college student: 

Now that you understand what a sustainable lifestyle looks like, as well as the problems that you may face when establishing a more environmentally conscious life, we can go over some tips for incorporating living sustainably in dorms and college living arrangements!
  • A reusable water bottle that can help you decrease plastic waste! (

    One of the easiest changes you can make to your lifestyle is reducing the amount of meat you eat! Going vegetarian/vegan is impossible for a lot of people, so focus on choosing one day a week (or one meal every day) that is meat-free.

  • Purchase a reusable water bottle to avoid single-use plastic. It also may be handy to purchase a Brita filter for your dorm room—this will allow you access to clean drinking water without using single-use plastic.

  • As a college student, one of the simplest changes you can initiate is decreasing the amount of driving that you do. Whether you choose to carpool, walk, or bike, lowering the amount you drive will aid in decreasing your carbon emissions

  • And last, but not least, be patient with yourself! Each day is different and may bring you different challenges—it is okay to not be perfectly sustainable, making an effort is the biggest first step.

Living sustainably in dorms is not easy, but it is an incredibly important and beneficial lifestyle. As Earth Day continues to approach this year, think about ways that you can start making environmentally sound decisions in your everyday life!

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format