5 Zero-Waste Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint as a Student

Learn how to live more sustainably in your Waterloo off-campus housing.

When you start university, you’re more in control of your life choices than ever before. This makes it the ideal time to think about how you could reduce your carbon footprint. A key way to live a more eco-friendly life is to strive to produce zero waste. There are a number of things you can start doing immediately, many of which take almost no effort.

1. Switch to Reusables

You may already have several reusable items, but there’s always more you can do. Head to the store (with your reusable bags) and pick up some other essentials. This could include a water bottle, travel mug, microfibre cloths for cleaning (instead of paper towels), and washable utensils. If you often like to pack a lunch, use silicone snack bags.

2. Choose Sustainable School Supplies

Instead of shopping for school supplies at the last minute and purchasing whatever is left on the shelves, start looking early to find items that are not made with excessive amounts of plastic. Pencils are already better than pens, but you can make them zero waste by choosing ones that are recyclable or compostable. You should also search for eco-friendly notebooks and folders. It’s even better to avoid buying things entirely, which you can achieve if you take all your notes on a tablet or laptop and purchase digital versions of textbooks.

3. Buy from Local Businesses

Whenever you go shopping, check to see if local businesses have what you need. This will tend to lead to lower emissions, particularly when it comes to food. Find out if there’s a farmers’ market in your area where you can buy fruit, vegetables, and other produce. The food will be fresh and won’t have emitted a large amount of carbon to reach you.

4. Compost Your Food Waste

There will always be parts of food you’re unable to eat, such as vegetable skins and fruit peel. Instead of throwing this waste out with the rest of your trash (where it will end up in a landfill), reuse it by composting. You may think you need a large garden to compost, but it’s actually possible even if you live in an apartment without a balcony. Just buy an indoor composting unit and use the results to grow houseplants.

5. Recycle

Much of the other waste you create is recyclable. Before you throw anything in the garbage, stop to think about whether you could recycle it instead. The likelihood is your apartment building has a separate can for recycling, meaning it’s just a matter of throwing it in the right place.

6. Stop Driving

Instead of using a car to get around, walk, bike, or use public transportation. Whenever a car is necessary, see if you can carpool with other students or coworkers to reduce multiple vehicles down to one.

You’ll have much more control over your lifestyle if you live off campus. For Waterloo off-campus housing, you have the choice of Preston House and Bridgeport House. Either will mean you reduce your carbon footprint by being able to walk to campus. However, you’ll also be comfortable, as you’ll have a private bedroom and en suite bathroom. Contact us to book a tour of your preferred property.