With our current climate and trash situation being worse than ever, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some zero waste school supplies and eco-friendly alternatives with you, to save the planet and even save money by doing so!
Being honest with you, I planned on writing a post about making money for students, but the current happenings just totally draw me in a different direction right now. And I can’t ignore my feelings. So here I am!
Being a student, either living at home or on campus, it can be really tough to find good alternatives and share the thought with parents and friends. I totally feel the same!
Over the past months, I have found some really good zero waste school supplies though, which I wanted to share today!
The situation with our planet is getting worse every day, due to pollution and plastic waste. By reducing our usage of plastic and single-use items, and being more conscious about what we buy and use, we can make a big impact on how our future is going to look like.
everyone can make a change.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love! That helps support this blog and makes it possible to provide free content for you! Thank you. Read my full disclosure here.
One more note before we get started: Try to find these items in a local shop before ordering online! Transportation emits tons of co2, which can be avoided by shopping locally. (yes they have to transport the products to the store too, but you ordering them from there is a second way which can be avoided). I do list some examples, just so you can see how the items look like, and if you can’t find them near you, you can order them online.
That is still better than keep using single-use items:)
Reusable water bottles
Especially high schools and colleges have many water fountains to drink from, for free! Just get a stainless steel (or other material) water bottle to use for several months and years, instead of purchasing plastic bottles every day!
Taking your own food from home or cooking in college is a great way to save money. Just get one or two reusable boxes for carrying your food and snacks and save tons of plastic waste from single-use sandwich bags. You can just wash the boxes in the evening and reuse them every day. It’s simple as that!
Thrift your clothes
Thrifting saves so much money!!! And not just that, it avoids the whole manufacturing process of the production of new clothes. The only thing I wouldn’t thrift would be underwear, but other than that, thrifting is the perfect way to save the environment and your wallet:)
Invest in Quality
Yes, I know, as students we don’t have much money to spend at once. But think about it.
Is it better to purchase an item several times because it keeps breaking, or spending a little more once and have it for years?
The second option definitely saves you money in the long run and is much better for our planet too.
- A backpack
- Furniture for College
- Bed essentials
- Laundry/storage baskets
- Electronic devices
Avoid buying notebooks that include other elements than paper. Those are hard to take apart to recycle, and part of it won’t be recyclable.
My best tip would be to find already recycled notebooks. Those are notebooks where the paper has already been recycled, so you are basically re-using it, fighting deforestation.
I am a total paper lover too, and I love (and learn best) when taking notes on paper. But I will definitely try some apps that let you write with a special pen on an iPad for example, to avoid using paper. I will let you know how that works for me!
I love the idea of having one good pen and refilling it when it’s empty. Even though the refills will probably cause plastic waste, I think it is still better than using single-use pens.
Yep, there are neon-colored pencils that are as bright as highlighters! I was looking for highlighter swaps for a long time since regular highlighters run out super fast and are just so wasteful.
I was so in love when I first heard about them! When you are done using them, you just place them in a plant pot and they grow herbs!!!
Here is a $10 coupon for the same shop!
Use up first
This one is super important. Before getting ANY of these zero-waste school supplies, you need to use up what you have first.
I know, that is tough to do, but think about it. Wouldn’t it just miss the point of being sustainable, if we would just throw away all our plastics just because we don’t want them anymore?
I have lots of pencils at home which I’m going to use up before buying the fancy herb-pencils. I also still own a plastic brush. I’ve had it before the time when I realized what I was doing, but since it’s still working fine, I’ll keep it until it breaks.
I think you get the idea.
Use Cotton Rounds
This one is a little more specific, and you can use any piece of fabric you don’t need anymore. That saves you a lot of money!
The idea is just to ditch single-use cotton pads and replace them with washable ones. They were the first zero-waste items I got, and I love using them every day.
There are even bamboo toothbrushes with replaceable heads, which is what I have.
It takes a little while to get used to it, but when you find the one that works best, it saves you money when you just switch out the heads.
Use produce bags
Taking your own bags for grocery or clothes shopping is one of the first things people switch to, which is awesome. You can make your own produce bags for groceries, there are several tutorials out there, even no-sew!
Don’t buy cutlery
You can just bring a set of steel cutlery from home if you eat at fast food places a lot, or just took your own food to school. There is no need to use either plastic nor wooden cutlery. Just take a little bag for them and wash them when you get home/ to your dorm.
Make your own cleaning supplies
Cleaning supplies aren’t just chemical and not eco-friendly, but also expensive for college students. Same goes for laundry detergent. By making your own, you can save lots of money and be sustainable.
Grocery shopping tips
I know, groceries aren’t school supplies, but it’s part of a student’s life, especially in college!
Whenever you buy food, try to buy the packaging-free alternative. If there isn’t one, try to find the product in paper, carton, steel or glass.
Mostly you will end up with fresh groceries, which is better for your health anyway:D
It is all about the mindset, people. If I can’t find other alternatives, the item is just not available to me. Depending on its importance, I may still get something with plastic, but I really try to avoid it.
I think about the consequences and how it won’t decompose until I am loooooong gone (hello anxiety), and I also look at how sustainable and eco-friendly an item is.
Let’s say there is a reusable water bottle but it’s wrapped in some plastic. Having that bottle will save hundreds of plastic bottles. So I would buy that because the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
These were my 15+ zero-waste school supplies to save you money while helping our planet.
If you are interested in being more sustainable, comment below and I will write more about it!
Check out my sustainable room tour here: (it’s been a while though so it still has a lot of non-zero-waste items:D)
Wanna do more? Plant trees!!
If you have heard of the Amazon rainforest fire, this is something you can help with. Plant a tree in the Amazon! (I have!)
You can plant one for free here. And add more if you want. One tree is only $1. The organization is non-profit, so that might help you decide easier:):)
Don’t forget, that as small as your changes may seem, they are way bigger than you think. It is just important to share your knowledge and get other people on the boat!
I hope these zero-waste school supplies tips were helpful and you subscribe to the VIP community to receive more from me!