Going Zero Waste: Tips for Teens and College Students
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Going Zero Waste: Tips for Teens and College Students

Personal Growth

March 16, 2019

If you are a teenager living at home or a college student rooming with others in an apartment or dorm, it can be kind of difficult to go completely zero waste. Maybe your parents do most of the shopping, want to keep costs low, don't want to deal with going zero waste, or you have roommates who are not sustainably conscious. These tips are for you! I hope this helps you in your journey to zero waste or just trying out these tips. 

1. Thrifting

Start by going to local second-hand places and checking out what they have. You might find something you love. Thrift even household items like mason jars to have for bulk buying.

If there aren't any second-hand store places near you try apps like Depop, although it isn't really efficient in trying to go zero waste with packaging, delivery, etc. I don't always recommend thrifting shoes, but like with anything you thrift, just be sure to wash any items.

2. Swap your school supplies

A good way to slowly progress to going zero waste in your daily life is to switch to better school products. This could be making your own journals, not buying spiral bound, using recycled pencil pouches, and even buying refills for your pens rather than buying new pens. Another way to go is to go electronic- when it comes to taking notes or doing any scratch work to avoid paper usage. 

3. Switch to a menstrual cup or cotton products

Anyone experiencing the once a month call can also try out these products to be a little more environmentally friendly. Switch to menstrual cups which can last for years, get a subscription box of sustainable feminine products, or switch to cotton products/cloth pads. Really it's just a good idea to look into a product's packaging and what it has that could be harming the earth and avoid it. 

4. Bulk Buy 

To spend less time driving, less time in the store, and less worry about food decide to bulk buy. This can be bulk buying at a Costco or Sams which is still a step above going to a grocery store every week. Taking a step further, find stores that allow you to bring your own cloth bags, mason jars, jugs, etc to not use any plastic or paper. 

5. Get involved in the action

If you're interested in taking care of the environment get involved in your neighborhood and schools. Find ways to encourage others to try and go zero waste or to be a part of your projects. Host a clean up the beach, street, Esplanade, block, or plant trees, seeds for bees, etc. Talk to your fellow peers to let them know what is going on around them what products can do to you and what little ways they can go zero waste even if they don't drastically want to change how they are living now. 


Marcela Strane
100k+ pageviews

Writer since Feb, 2017 · 29 published articles

Marcela is currently a college student studying Environmental Engineering as she has a passion for seeing the world around her thrive. She loves books, animals, oceans, and helping others.