Eco-Friendly Tips for Dorm Life

Hey Longhorns! Welcome to UT, where we Bleed Orange. Think Green. The Campus Environmental Center has created list of eco-friendly tips for you to try this year on campus: 

  • Use a reusable water bottle – do not buy plastic, single-use water bottles. These water bottles are highly wasteful and consume a lot of energy! Additionally, there are few regulations for the water inside these. If you are still uncomfortable with using the tap, buy a water filter. For more information consider the economical, health and societal benefits of reusable water bottles: check out this link and this link.  


image courtesy of:
  • Be a conscious consumer – everything has a carbon footprint. When you are purchasing food and goods, consider what all has gone into that product. Think about the packaging, how far that product has traveled, the amount of water and energy consumed, and what materials were used to create the product. All these considerations have environmental implications! When you are evaluating products, go for local, less processed, and organic. These products have required the least amount of energy, fossil fuels, and processing to reach you! For a conscious consumer guide, check out this website for questions to consider. 


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  • Consider buying biodegradable hygiene, beauty, and health products. These products are chemical-free. This is important because everything that everything that you use leeches into your body, the water, and the ground. These chemicals do not breakdown, and can remain in the ecosystem for thousands of years. The affects of these non-biodegradable chemicals are quite severe, and hard to reverse. These alternative products use natural alternatives that are not harsh on the body or environment. Don’t worry! These alternative work just as well, if not better! This is better for your body, and the planet.
    • Face and Body brand to consider: Dr. Bronner, Burt’s Bee’s, Diva Cup, Kiss My Face, Tom’s of Maine. For more information on what to choose, how to choose, or why organic and biodegradable is important, check out these links: why biodegradablewhy its better for your healthhow to choose.
    • Cleaning product brands to consider: Method, Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, and BioBag. For more information regarding biodegradable cleaning, check out this link with what to avoid and what to look for. 
    • Many common household products are biodegradable and work great for cleaning (i.e. vinegar and baking soda). For some DIY biodegradable cleaning ideas, check out this link


Dr. Bronner’s soap  –  image courtesy of:’s-soap-and-whole-trade-guarantee
Tom’s of Maine toothpaste – image courtesy of:


Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products – image courtesy of:
  • Drops need watts, so keep it brief. Every drop of water that you use had to be resourced, treated to remove bacteria, chemicals added, pumped, and chilled/heated. After that, it cycles back to do the same thing. This whole process requires a ton of energy! The less water you consume, the less water needs to be treated! If your dorm has a timer for the lights in the restrooms, us to time your showers. Otherwise, buy a timer to keep showers brief. Not only is this good for the environment, its good on everyone’s wallet too. For some brief reason on why to take short showers, check out this link. For some information regarding the water treatment process, check out this useful pamphlet.

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image courtesy of:
  • Need something? – Always consider buying used before new. The more used products you buy, the less items are manufactured. Doing so requires less material to be sourced and consumed, less energy to be consumed, and less material to make its way into the landfill. It is also a bit softer on your wallet too! If you don’t buy used, consider buying higher quality products – they last longer, and lead to less waste. Good places to buy used include: Trash 2 Treasure salesCraigslistUT Buy/Sell/Trade/FreeBuffalo ExchangeGoodwill


image courtesy of: The Campus Environmental Center’s Trash 2 Treasure project team.
  • RECYCLE – Keeping recyclable materials out of the landfill means less raw materials need to be sourced for products. Recycling is super easy once you know what is and is not recyclable. This step is crucial! Sorting trash vs. recyclables makes the process much more efficient for the recycling centers. More efficient systems leads to less waste! For a list of what is/is not recyclable: check out this link


  • Need a ride? – Try using alternatives (biking, walking, busing, and carpooling). The less fuel you use, the cleaner you keep the atmosphere, which helps you breath better too! These alternatives are also softer on your wallet than just driving yourself.
    • Don’t be afraid of the CapMetro bus system. It is really easy to use – make sure you use the Google Maps app. They have a bus option for directions that is really accurate and super helpful!
    • Or use car-sharing companies like Zipcar, or car2go. These companies are really easy to use and pretty reasonably priced!
    • Need a bike? Check out UT’s Orange Bike Project for semester long rentals, daily rentals, and bike auctions! Or Austin B-Cycle can help with their easy bike sharing program.
    • For UT Austin’s PTS list of alternate Transportation: check out their website.

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image courtesy of: UT Austin’s Parking and Transportation Services
  • Join an environmental student organization. UT has a ton of ways to become involved with the green movement. This is a great way to get involved with people who have similar passions, learn more ways to be green, find great opportunities, have learn about environmental events on campus. For more information check out Hornslink


image courtesy of: the Campus Environmental Center

Try to implement a couple of these tips throughout your year on campus! For more information regarding any of these tips or ways to get involved, contact the Campus Environmental Center at 


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