Living sustainably in your college apartment is more important than you might think. It helps reduce the environmental impact of student accommodation, which has historically had a high carbon footprint. Doing everything you can to keep your college apartment eco-friendly contributes to a healthier, safer planet for yourself and future generations.

Small changes can have a considerable impact, even if it doesn’t seem that way. For example, if every college student committed to one quick habit, such as separating their recycling from the rest of their trash, there would be significantly less waste in landfills.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the sustainable practices that you can adopt in your college apartment to live a more sustainable life. These include energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and more.

Energy Conservation

It sounds ominous, but it’s true: The more energy you use unnecessarily, the more you contribute to the planet’s eventual destruction. 

It’s common for people to leave the lights on when they are no longer in a room or leave their plug sockets switched on even when they’re not in use. Trivial actions like these don’t seem very harmful, but when billions of people engage in them, enormous amounts of energy and electricity are wasted.

In order to conserve energy, you can look into energy-efficient lighting choices, such as LED light bulbs. LED lights use far less energy than traditional bulbs and last significantly longer (meaning they won’t need to be replaced as often). 

Closely monitoring your heat and air conditioning can also help conserve energy. Establishing sustainable practices with your roommates, such as keeping doors and windows shut to control the apartment’s temperature, will reduce the need for your HVAC system.

Waste Reduction

Research indicates that those between 18 and 24 are the most prone to food waste. Food waste is a massive problem in college apartments for several reasons, including minimal storage space for leftovers and a lack of knowledge about grocery shopping and meal planning.

The most effective ways to reduce food waste are meal planning and correctly storing food. For example, washing and storing fruit in airtight containers ensures that it stays fresher for longer, as opposed to keeping it in its original packaging. Planning meals in advance increases the likelihood of using groceries before they spoil. It also prevents you from overspending on groceries you won’t use.

Another way to reduce waste is to opt for multi-use items rather than single-use items. Plenty of clever and aesthetic products are available on the market to encourage reusable products. Paper and plastic cups can be replaced with glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cups. Lunch boxes and reusable storage containers can be used in lieu of plastic bags or single-use containers.

Water Conservation

In areas where access to clean water is abundant, it may feel pointless to try to cut back your usage. However, there are many benefits to conserving water.

Not only can it help reduce your bills, but it can also decrease your carbon footprint by minimizing the amount of power it takes to heat the water. It also ensures that as much water as possible is kept in the ecosystem. Wetland habitats need a constant water supply so wildlife can survive, and your water conservation efforts can go a long way.

You may be tempted to ignore minor leaks in your apartment if they’re not bothering you. However, it’s best to contact the maintenance team immediately to have them repaired. Even minor leaks can waste an incredible amount of water over time.

Evaluating your daily habits can help you conserve water. Instead of dallying in the shower, you can make a concerted effort to get in and out once you are clean. Before washing the dishes, you might wait until there are quite a few to justify the full sink of water needed to clean them. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth and using leftover cooking water are also simple, creative ways to be more mindful of your consumption.

Sustainable Purchasing

Sustainable purchasing and minimalism go hand-in-hand. Sustainable purchasing is the practice of primarily buying what you need while carefully considering superfluous purchases. Adopting minimalism, a lifestyle that aims to eliminate excess, will naturally make your habits more sustainable.

It’s helpful to consider where you are purchasing from, whether your products are eco-friendly, and whether the brands that made them are ethical. Supporting local businesses is another way of promoting sustainability while ensuring you get what you need. They often utilize greener business practices than big corporations.

Consider buying second-hand clothing, furniture, books, and more to relieve some of the demand for new items. You can find tons of high-quality second-hand items in thrift stores, but if you’re looking for something specific, you can search online.

Transportation Alternatives

Driving is often the default mode of transportation for people, but there are plenty of other ways to travel that can cut back your impact on the environment.

You can reduce pollution by utilizing transportation options that are already available and running, like buses and trains. This decision won’t cause additional harm to the environment. Consider carpooling with friends or your roommates for longer trips or when you can’t take public transportation.

If the weather is nice, you may even be able to walk, bike, or skate when traveling a short distance. Walking is great for both the environment and your mental health. Fortunately, BYU-Idaho is only a 12-minute walk from Hillcrest, allowing students to walk back and forth nearly every day if they choose to.


As you can see, there are plenty of small changes you can make in your college apartment that will make a significant difference outside of it. Whether you decide to replace your lights or ensure that you recycle correctly, every little action helps.

You don’t have to completely change your life to be more sustainable; all it takes is one small step. The first change is always the hardest, but over time, you will likely adopt sustainable lifestyle practices without a second thought. Encouraging your roommates to join the movement toward sustainability can help hold you accountable and further the effort to create a healthy planet. If you’re looking for a home base for your sustainable lifestyle, contact Hillcrest Townhouses today!