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How to Go Zero Waste as a College Student


So, you’re a college student trying to figure out ways to live more sustainably. First off, congratulations! You’re way younger and more in-tune to the issues of the world than I ever was as a college student. You should know that you’re doing a whole lot of good for the Earth.

This got me wondering: Is it easier to be zero waste as a college student? Or does living off of a college campus make it easier? Here are some of our best tips for having a low impact during the best four years of your life.

Look into the compost and community garden

You may not even realize these resources exist, but many colleges and universities have either a compost system, community garden, or both. All it takes is a little bit of asking around or digging around your school’s website. Some schools have a kitchen compost and if you inquire to the right people, you can gain access. Whenever you have food scraps, you can deposit them in the school’s compost instead of throwing them in the trash.

Many universities also have a gardening club. Perhaps the gardening club attends to the school’s public greenhouse or garden. Or maybe, if the club is low on resources, you could do little DIY gardening projects — like planting seeds in eggshells or upcycling egg cartons and other potential items to be used as pots.

If you poke around and find that your university or college does not have any of these resources, you could always take some initiative. You know, be the one to start it yourself. You could start a gardening club; the general rule at most schools is you need 10 signatures of people who will be in the club and then you can start it, run it, and petition for a budget. Once you have a gardening club, you can try to connect it to the school’s composting system and encourage other students to get involved by contributing their compost. Or hey, maybe you’re feeling super motivated and want to use the club’s budget to start a community garden or greenhouse! Anything’s possible now that you set the wheels in motion.