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How to Be a Sustainable Student + Eco-Friendly School Supplies Shopping List

I’m a little late to the party but I just enrolled in my first ever college courses! When I decided to go back to school, I’ll admit, the first thing that I thought of was “ooh yay I get to shop for school supplies again!” But this time around, with a new (and growing) interest in sustainability, I decided I wanted to be conscious with what I buy for the new school year. I didn’t want to go overboard and buy a surplus of supplies I probably wouldn’t end up using. So, here are some eco-friendly tips that I followed to start my new school year.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

3 Tips for the Sustainable Student –

1. Reuse What You Already Have

This had the biggest influence on how I started the school year. I ended up only buying 4 new notebooks since the rest of my supplies (like pens, highlighters, etc) were already lying around my house.

So, I recommend scouring deep inside any desk or junk drawers to see if you can recover any lost supplies that you might have forgotten about. Because you really don’t need as much as you think. Like, 1-2 pens and a highlighter for example, is sufficient enough to get your work done (even if it’s not as exciting as buying a new fresh pack of pens.)

With that being said, I may need to accumulate more the deeper I get into my classes. And this doesn’t include textbooks and other reading materials. Which leads me to my next tip..

Related: 10 Free Things You Can Do to Be More Eco-Friendly

2. Rent Textbooks, Buy Second-Hand, or Go Digital

So far, I’ve only needed one textbook and one pamphlet. And luckily, my school offered the textbook online for free but I decided to also rent a physical copy from them too. As for the pamphlet, I ended up buying it through a second-hand bookstore called World of Books.

These different methods of accessing your reading materials not only save a ton of money but are also kinder to the planet. So, after I’m done with my classes, I can just return my rented book and resell the pamphlet, making my reading materials zero-waste.

Related: 12 Tips for Eco-Friendly Reading

3. Use Phone Apps to Stay Organized 

Staying organized in school is super important, of course. But there’s a lot of waste that goes into buying a new planner and calendar each year. So, a great way to reduce all that paper waste is to switch to an online planner, calendar, and other organizational tools instead.

My organizational app recommendations:

  • myHomework for planning out my schoolwork
  • Simplenote for writing down notes
  • TickTick for making to-do lists
  • Spark for my monthly calendar and using all my email accounts in one place.

Related: How To Practice Digital Minimalism

Eco-Friendly School Supplies –

Plantable Graphite Pencils

Take having a “green thumb” to a whole new level with these plantable pencils that grow into an indoor or outdoor spruce tree.

Recycled Fine Tip Highlighters

Grab a set of these four highlighters made out of recycled water bottles.

Recycled Plastic Scissors

Snag yourself a pair of these scissors made out of recycled plastics.

Kraft Paper Folders

Organize your papers with this set of 12 kraft paper folders.

Decomposition Notebooks

Write between the lines with these artsy and eccentric notebooks made with eco-friendly materials.

How Will You Be a Sustainable Student?

Share your thoughts down below..

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