Living sustainably in the dorms, an apartment shared with roommates or off campus housing can seem difficult, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not because every day should be like earth day. I have had my fair share of dorm and apartment experiences here on campus and I am going to give you a few tips on how to live more sustainably.

student filling up reusable water bottle

Photo by: Kelsa Katzfey ’21

Skip the plastic.

This includes things like plastic water bottles, bags for groceries or produce, unnecessary wrappers, etc. Instead, buy reusable items.

I use reusable grocery bags and at places like Hyvee and Bluff Country Co-op, I get 50 cents off my total. I also use a reusable water bottle that I bring to campus with me every day and fill up at water bottle filling stations all around campus. Purchasing things such as reusable baggies for lunches to go, to-go coffee cups or metal straws are cheap and easy.

Walk, bike or car pool.

If you live very close to campus like me, you might walk or ride a bike every day. Especially now that the weather is much warmer, I find myself walking many places which is even better for the environment.

Rollerblading, biking or walking somewhere saves gas and you get to be outside in the fresh air so it’s really a win-win. If you do have to drive somewhere farther such as the grocery store, find some friends to carpool with because chances are they need to go too.


This might seem difficult to do in the dorms or a house full of many roommates who don’t follow rules, but it’s super easy!

Things that can be recycled include:






Make sure to have a designated trash can for these items and recycle them! Things such as pizza boxes with grease or unwashed cans or bottles though, should not be recycled.

Never litter. 

Littering is pointless because there are trashcans almost everywhere. Holding onto your trash until you find a trash can or recycling bin is so easy so there is no point in dropping trash on the ground. If you see trash on the ground, pick it up! Nothing ruins a beautiful scenery like trash that someone was too lazy to clean up.

Check out your carbon footprint.

You can calculate your carbon footprint and see how much your lifestyle affects the health of the earth. The calculator asks simple questions and when I calculated mine, my results showed that if everyone lived like me, it would take three earths.