Linen napkins & non-plastic clothes hangers: Sustainable residence hall essentials

With housing applications about to be released for the fall, now is the time to invest in sustainable residence hall essentials that will make your space greener. 

The average college student produces more than 600 pounds of trash each year. And since it can be a hassle to properly recycle, donate or reuse materials – it can be hard to reduce waste in college.

As you move into your residence hall or apartment this fall, start by purchasing reusable goods that are convenient and help cut down on your carbon footprint:

Replacing single-use items
From paper towels and plastic bags to take-out cups and cutlery, there is plenty of room to reduce the amount of single-use paper and plastic products that you use in your everyday life. Linen or cloth napkins are a reusable, low emission alternative to paper towels and napkins. Along with simple food cleanup, they offer a wide variety of uses, from deep cleaning your dorm to washing your face, having cloth towels around is a simple and effective way to cut down on waste. Also consider picking up a handful of reusable shopping and sandwich bags, reusable on-the-go cutlery and a reliable water bottle. If you have these basics, you can take the complication out of reducing your everyday waste. Getting into the habit of using or remembering to bring your reusable items throughout the day can be tough, so follow these tips on making reducing waste a steady part of your routine.

Make your closet greener
If fashion is important to you, there are a few ways to ensure the clothes you buy and the way you buy them isn’t hurting the environment. Buying second-hand or vintage clothes instead of new clothes is one of the best ways to minimize your part in the waste generated from the fashion industry. Try purchasing your new fall wardrobe at these online stores if you prefer shopping from your couch. If you want to cut down your environmental impact down to a negligible point, you can walk or metro to one of these D.C. area thrift stores. Once you secure your newest fashion finds, consider using non-plastic clothes hangers as a stylish replacement for the common single use plastic hangers featured in closets everywhere. 

Swap out package-heavy bathroom products
There are a few simple bathroom product swaps you can invest in to help save the planet and your wallet. No need to throw out what you are already using, but a great way to cut down waste with toiletries is to buy package-free products. Try bar soap, shampoo and conditioner. Or if you have access to a store that sells package-free liquid soap and other bathroom products from dispensers, you can bring your own containers each time you need a refill. Another easy swap is investing in a metal razor instead of your typical plastic disposable razor. If you can convince your roommates, another eco-friendly yet wild addition to the bathroom is a bidet attachment for your toilet. Bidets are a fascinating way to completely eliminate toilet paper waste.

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