How to: be a sustainable, yet fashionable college student

By Carolyne Croy 

Living an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle is easy enough while at home when you have access to a full kitchen, recycling services, and farmers markets. But what about living in a dorm or apartment where kitchen space is limited, recycling services are not offered, and you still want to express your personal style? Follow these tips, and you can learn just how easy it can be to be a fashionable and sustainable college student.

Courtesy of UP Magazine

Tip #1 Carry a Reusable Coffee Cup

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It’s no surprise that college students love their coffee, but what might be surprising is that this daily necessity is one of the leading contributors to landfill waste. With 8am classes, hectic schedules, and late night studying, college students drink more coffee than the average person. Consider buying a reusable coffee cup for your daily cup-o-joe. No matter your style or budget, there’s a re-usable cup out there for you.



For a durable cup that will keep your coffee warm far longer than any paper cup, consider this tumbler from YETI. Multiple color options are available, making sure that no matter your outfit, your coffee cup won’t clash. I recommend this clean white-colored tumbler; it will match any outfit and the material doesn’t stain.



If you’re like me and find it tedious to carry around a cup all day after you finished your drink, you’ll love the collapsible cups from stojo. After you’re finished with your drink, just toss this collapsible cup in your bag and forget about it until you get home after class!download-1

If you are looking for something truly unique, check out this customizable coffee cup from FrankGreen. 


And if you prefer to make coffee from your dorm, or apartment, try out these reusable k-cups for your Keurig. Just fill them with your favorite ground coffee, and you’re ready to go! These eco-friendly k cups are becoming more and more popular, and are college-budget friendly!

Some coffee shops will even reward you for bringing your own reusable cup! Check out Starbucks’ new promise here.

Tip #3 Buy Notebooks Made From Recycled Paper

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Buying notebooks for class? Look for notebooks made from sustainable and recycled materials. These two notebooks are both ethical and affordable and are more aesthetically appealing than any notebook your college bookstore offers.

  • You can find these minimalist-style notebooks made from 100% SFI certified paper from


Tip #3 Fill Your Closet With Ethical Purchases

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Courtesy of UP Magazine

And for the best part of converting to a more sustainable lifestyle…clothes shopping! It’s easy to buy clothing off bargain websites like Zaful or Shein, but clothing from these websites are normally made in sweatshops in third world countries. (To learn more about ethical clothing, watch the documentary The True Cost on Netflix) But ethically made clothing doesn’t have to be expensive!

Get your online shopping fix from the online store pact.  All their clothing is 100% fair trade and made of organic cotton! Plus the majority of their items are under $50!

wlh-vph-1-1538149608_thumb Buy this cosy zip-up here

msw-nah-1-1505433571_thumb.jpg Snag these Navy Joggers here

Another great way to find ethical clothing is to shop from stores you already know and love. Did you know ASOS has their own line of ethically made, sustainably sourced clothing? Find their fashion-forward sustainable pieces here. 

And don’t forget about buying or selling your clothing on re-sale websites like Poshmark or Depop. Purchasing from these websites lets you get great deals on name brands like Kate Spade, Patagonia, Lululemon and more. And because it’s up-cycling, you aren’t contributing to the second most polluting industry in the world; the fashion industry.

Tip #4 Start a chain-reaction and Cycle Around

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Excuse the horrible pun, but riding around campus on your bike has never been more on trend. Not only is having a bike on campus super convenient, by opting out of taking the bus or driving your own car you are greatly diminishing your CO2 emissions, and greatly growing your bank account by not buying that buss or parking pass!


It’s All About What You Put Your Mind To

Courtesy of UP Magazine

Some days it might seem easier to run to Starbucks without your reusable cup, or you might be tempted to buy that $13 dress off the bargain website, but with these tips and a little motivation, living as a more sustainable college student is one of the easiest things you’ll do this year!