Living sustainably has its challenges for just about everyone—but especially if you’re a college student like me.
With those challenges also come some major benefits. I’m a senior at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and I do everything I can to live sustainably while on a budget.
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in though, it’s never too late to incorporate sustainable habits into your routine.
My first trick is any container with food in it becomes reusable when it’s done: yogurt, cottage cheese, even plastic takeout containers. Some of my best or biggest storage containers were originally food containers—I already bought the food; the container is just a little freebie!
Tupperware brand items, while also very useful for food storage and other items, can be expensive, especially for a student who has to move out for the summers and move in for the school year. Plus, when the school year is over, I recycle everything and don’t have to worry about packing more items.
But if you’re in a different position—not having to move twice a year—purchasing a good quality set of Tupperware, or similar brand, might make more sense. Just make sure you keep track of those lids—they seem to get easily lost or misplaced.
My college provides recycling services for my apartment building, but a bulk recycling center nearby is even better. They accept oversized plastic items, paper, cardboard, and glass. When my bin—and the floor around my bin—gets full, I’ll load it all into my car and take it over.
It can be hard to not over buy food as a college kid. Even though I’ve meal prepped for the week, I never turn down free food. If I’m eating free food and not my food, it means some of the food I’ve purchased might go bad.
Luckily Utah State’s campus offers free compost drop-off! I have a stainless-steel composting pail with a filter in my kitchen to collect all my food scraps. Then once a week, I take it to campus with me to empty. I have gotten a lot of funny looks and questions about why I’m carrying a giant lunch box. I don’t mind, it allows me to talk to people about composting and where the bins are on campus.
Composting is nature’s way of breaking down food scraps to be used in other ways, such as for garden soil. There are many resources—like this one—on how to compost and the many ways you can use it.
Getting to campus is also a big part of my life, and it can be hard to keep our transportation sustainable. I live about a mile off campus, and I need to get to class on time! Utah State offers an excellent bus service that allows me to get to campus without driving.
Of course, driving is the easiest way to get around. Try exploring other options like public transit, bike riding, or carpooling to help reduce car emissions and keep our air clean and more sustainable.
These are just a few of the ways I live sustainably. Share your own tips in the comments section below.
Learn more about USANA’s sustainable efforts, goals, and accomplishments here.