5 Rules to Become a Zero-Waste College Student

Are you a college student who is trying to give back to the environment by going zero? Are you looking for tips on how to go waste-free? Well, you are in the right place. We will show you some ways with the help of which you can achieve a zero-waste lifestyle and low waste living.

We begin by saying, Congratulations. It is highly appreciated that you are trying to play your part in the betterment of the world at such a tender age. Let’s look at a few ways that will help you answer the question of how to go waste-free and that you can follow to have a very low impact on the environment during your 4-year stay at college.

1. Take part in university green activities

You may not know this, but several universities and colleges have a community garden, a compost system, or both of them. All you need to do is find out where it is in your college. A few colleges also have a kitchen compost. Instead of throwing your food scraps in the trash, you can place them in the college’s compost.

Several universities have a gardening club. You can join the gardening club, and use recyclable resources as pots and decorations. You can plant seeds in eggshells, and can use various other items as pots.

If you have searched and your college doesn’t have any of this, then you can take the initiative and start one yourself.

2. Get used textbooks

Another thing that you can do when you are thinking about how to go waste-free to get old textbooks. You are going to be studying new courses every semester. This means that you will have to buy textbooks every 6 months.

Not only are they expensive, but they are also seldom worth the cost since you are hardly ever going to use once the semester is over, except in a select few cases.


Reuse of textbooks will not only help in environmental conservation but also help in education of children in less-privileged countries.

Therefore, it is a good idea to buy used books. Contact your seniors, and see if they have the books you need. You can go to the college library and get the books issued to you for the semester. With the advent of technology, most of the textbooks are available in their soft form online.

You can buy papers online for college and download the soft form of books instead of buying physical books to adopt a zero-waste living style and start a low waste living. You can read the world news on various blogs and forums online instead of physically buying one. There are various blogs online that help college students with several study-related issues, such as how to start a research paper and where to find the best material online.

3. Use reusable things

The best way to start low waste living is to start using reusable items. You can begin by using a plastic or glass water bottle. It is a very simple yet important step. You will not only contribute to nature, but you will also be saving yourself money by not buying a water bottle whenever you feel thirsty. A pretty deal, right? Don’t buy one-time use items, even things such as disposable plates for your dorm kitchen.

4. Buy durable school supplies

It can be pretty exciting and fun to shop for new things when school starts. However, don’t let the excitement cause you to overspend. Look for more durable and sustainable things. Use your old things, such as rulers, folders, binders, scissors, to begin your zero waste living.

If you have no choice but to buy new things, make sure that you buy things that have been made out of sustainable materials or recycled materials. Moreover, you can use your laptops to take notes instead of notebooks. If you can’t entirely stop using notebooks, then reduce the number of notebooks you use at least.

When you write research papers and articles, you do a lot of research work and use up plenty of paper. Don’t waste resources and buy college papers online. To start your zero waste living, buy college paper from the best and cheap sites. Don’t buy paper for college physically.

5. Use college transport

Most colleges and universities provide transportation facilities to their students. Instead of coming to college via taxis, or on your vehicle, make use of this facility and reduce your carbon footprint. You can walk to the campus, or ride a bicycle.


Earth is our home, and instead of destroying it or contributing towards its destruction, we should look for ways in which we can give back to it. Adopting zero waste living not only helps you reduce your carbon footprint, but it also helps you save money, which as a college student, you are going to be short of.

You need to remember that every step counts, no matter how small it is. Minute things such as using reusable straws and turning the tap off as you brush your teeth have a bigger impact than you’d think they’d have.

Here’s to going green, people!

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

2 Responses to 5 Rules to Become a Zero-Waste College Student

  1. Pingback: My Little Paper Recycling Project | EcoMENA

  2. Edudorm Writers says:

    Most of the college students are teenagers and hence on their prime ages to use money. This article is very educative on how they can save.

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