Friday, September 28, 2018

How to Live Zero Waste at College!

Hey cupcakes! When I started my journey towards lower/zero waste over the summer, I was living in an apartment by myself. This enabled me to live exactly the way I wanted in terms of sustainability. However, I am now back at college living in the same all-girls dorm, which puts some restraints on my sustainable practices... This has been an adjustment for my lower waste lifestyle, but it is still possible!! If any of you are also at school (and in the same boat as me), I wanted to share the easiest things you can do to still live lower waste will you are away. :)

1. Find the compost bins - My dorm actually has a compost bin in the basement with all of the trash and recycling containers. If I eat fruit or have any leftover food (that actually can be composted), it is super easy to bring it there. I suggest trying to find out if your campus has any compost bins! If not, just do your best to recycle as much as you can.

2. Bring less stuff to school - With my lower waste lifestyle, I downsized a lot of my belongings. This minimalist approach has been super nice to my organization and overall sanity, so I suggest not bringing as much stuff with you. I realized that a lot of stuff I brought in the past was totally unnecessary, so down size and donate!

3. Don't take the free stuff - There is so much free stuff at college. And to be frank, most of it is useless garbage with company names on it. So, think twice before grabbing another free t-shirt or plastic water bottle. Do you really need it? What will happen to it once you are done using it?

4. Be conscious of what you eat in the dining hall - This has been the biggest adjustment for me by far. I was used to shopping in the bulk bins (see my tips here!) and at the farmers market this summer, so it is weird to have food already prepared for me. Look into where your dining program gets the food and make sustainable choices as best as you can! My dining hall serves a lot of local, fresh food (which is amazing!!!), but it is always smart to double check. :)

5. Order small portions when you eat out - Or don't eat out at all! Because I have a meal plan, I have been making myself eat only at my dining hall. This prevents me from having to use any plastic silverware, plastic to-go containers, and saves me a bunch of money!

6. Continue to use your plastic replacements (especially reusable bags!) - This has been the easiest adjustment for me; I brought all of my non-plastic things from my apartment to the dorm! This included my reusable bags, my stainless steel safety razor, and even my reusable ziploc bags. If you want some ideas on the plastic items you can replace in your own life, check out the post I wrote for Plastic Free July

7. Share the sustainable message/find others who want to take the journey with you - There are so many sustainability events on my campus, so I am sure you will also be able to find some clubs and organizations who are just as passionate as you! If you are struggling with a certain aspect of the zero waste journey, these people can be your new support system :)

8. Declutter/donate at the end of the year - If you did happen to accumulate some new things over the school year (and don't plan on using it), donate it before you move off campus for the school year. My dorm always puts out donation bins for move-out, so try to see if your university offers this as well!

How were you sustainable in college? Comment below and don't forget to follow The Chic Cupcake to never miss another post! :D

Jenna (who speaks for the trees) <3

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