Green Your Dorm Room
Part of leaving home and stepping out in the world is setting your own standards for the environment you want to live in. As summer break winds down and college students (new and returning) prepare for the school year, we’d like to share a few tips on making the dorm room—your home away from home—a cleaner, greener place.
Good Night & Good Morning
One good place to start is with the bed – where you'll sleep every night and study, read and hang out every day. Organic cotton bedding will ensure that it's the greenest, healthiest, most comfy bed it can be. We've made going organic easy with our Jersey Sheet Set in four great colors, each as soft as your favorite t-shirt. It comes in a drawstring bag to make trips to the laundry room a breeze. Add the matching duvet cover and one of our organic cotton blankets or throws, and you'll be set for every season.
Our organic cotton Air Weight Towels are another dorm-life essential, because they absorb well and dry fast, saving you time (and lots of quarters).
Beyond choosing organic textiles, there's a whole lot you can do with your room to green it up. The positive impact on the planet would be amazing if every college student did even a few of the following things:
Buy Pre-Loved Stuff
- Most dorm rooms come with a bed, desk, desk chair and dresser. But if you find you need those, or other, furnishings, spend a few late-summer Saturday mornings cruising around to garage sales. Chances are, what you find will be much better and sturdier than anything from a big-box store.
- Check out online sources – including Craig's List , Full Dorm or Freecycle – for used stuff in good condition. In addition to helping out the planet, you 'll probably save money, too (hello, pizza!). Bonus points if you find stuff near your school, so you don’t have to truck it all the way from home.
Customize your space with furniture and art you make yourself. Milk crates (or cinderblocks) plus reclaimed wood planks make a sturdy bookcase, and all the pieces can be re-purposed later. Look online for ingenious, earth-friendly DIY ideas for filling your dorm room with personality.
- Buy a real mug, plate, bowl and flatware (including a set of chopsticks), so you can avoid disposables as often as possible.
- Stay hydrated (and green) with a re-fillable water bottle and filter pitcher.
- Hang a tote bag on the door knob where you'll remember to grab it on the way out to stock up on snacks. The best answer to "paper or plastic?" is "neither."
- Keep a bin in your room for recyclables like scratch paper, magazines and soda cans. Many schools supply them for dorm rooms and most have a place to deposit your recyclables, even if they don’t issue in-room bins.
- And remember: if you aren't buying recycled, you aren't really recycling! So look for recycled content when you're buying printer paper, TP and other supplies.
- Make use of the energy-saver settings to put your computer to sleep when you aren’t using it.
- Plugging electronics into a smart power strip will minimize unnecessary energy use (by automatically powering down peripherals when your computer is off or sleeping) and make it easy to turn them all off completely when you leave for a day of classes or a night out with friends.
- Ditch the hot, energy-sucking halogen and incandescent light bulbs and use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs instead. CFLs use up to 75% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs, while LEDs use up to 95% less.
- Better yet, use natural light when you can. And remember to flip the switch on your way out the door.
- To conserve water in the shower (and finish before the hot water runs out), choose a combination shampoo and conditioner or use a leave-in conditioner instead of one that needs rinsing.
- Shower like they do in the Navy – turn the tap off while you lather up, scrub and shave – and you'll save oceans of water.
Clean & Green
- Wash your laundry in cold water (trust us, it will still get clean) using plant-based detergent, if possible. Check out our blog post on why we recommend cold water washing here.
- Dry clothes on a folding rack you can tuck under your bed between laundry days or a retractable clothes line that mounts to the wall. It's a good idea to have one or the other for snowy mittens and rain-soaked jackets, too.