How To Control Your College Trash

It’s not hard to see why college students are notorious for accumulating tons of trash both in and out of their dorm rooms.

There wasn’t a week that went by when I was in college that I didn’t see fast-food containers, packets of ketchup, empty paper towel rolls, soda cans, half-empty bags of Doritos, plastic CD wrappers or Chinese take-out containers lying in random piles in someone’s room.

It not only proves that college students will take anything for free from the cafeteria, but they’ll also spend money on things that they don’t even need! And the more junk that they take or buy, the more trash that will accumulate.

That’s exactly why a proper waste management and recycling program needs to be implemented on campuses across the nation.

Now it may seem cliché, but the old “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” term can be applied to waste management and garbage removal practices in your very dorm room. If you follow these easy tips then you can have a waste-free dorm that is sure to impress and influence others around you.


Your lunch trash by using a washable bag or lunchbox instead of paper or plastic bags
Post-it note or scrap paper piles by writing reminders on a wipe board
Paper use by printing on both sides of the paper or sending documents through email
The items you take from the dining hall or fast-food restaurants (do you really need 12 packets of sugar or 10 tubs of barbeque sauce?)
Printer ink cartridge consumption by proofreading and spell-checking papers before you print them out
Unnecessary trash by buying items with little or no packaging
The germs in your room by using environmentally-safe cleaning products
The amount of money you spend (and receipts you accumulate) by borrowing items whenever possible!

A bandanna or washable napkin instead of paper towels
Food boxes and plastic containers to store personal items
A thermal mug when you go out to get coffee
Plastic silverware in your dorm room by washing it after every use
Plastic grocery bags for lunch if you don’t have a washable lunchbox
Binders, computer disks, file folders and notebooks
Handkerchiefs instead of tissues
Cloth rags to clean up spills rather than using paper towels

#1 and #2 plastic items
Cardboard boxes
Magazines and newspapers
Aluminum cans
Glass bottles
Cell phones
Ink cartridges
White and color paper

It really isn’t hard to follow proper waste management and recycling practices. All college students have some sort of unique routine, whether it’s drinking a Red Bull every morning before class or playing guitar before they go to bed, so if you make eco-friendly waste management your routine, you’ll actually be doing something good for you, your neighbors and the entire campus.

Trish Smith is a copywriter for Green Student U, Student Finance Domain and Study Abroad Domain, websites that are devoted to providing college students with helpful environmental, financial and study abroad advice.

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