5 Must-Have Items for the Sustainable Student

Stepping into college life is like stepping into a new version of yourself. You get to try new things, surround yourself with new people, and explore who you are without the influences of home. One of those ways for the mindful college student is purchasing items for your space that speak to your values. To help with that, we’ve compiled a list of must-have items to get you started on your new journey. Don’t forget you can use the Ethically extension to ensure you are only supporting the most sustainable brands!

  1. A Zero Waste Lunch Kit

Sure, this isn’t the most exciting item on the list, but a student’s got to eat! There are tons of lunch kits out there, but we love this one from The Package Free Shop because it has a little bit of everything. Use the stasher bag for snacks during your four-hour lecture and the stainless steel container to make a to-go plate from the dining hall. 

2. Guilt-Free Bedding

After a full day of classes and a late night at the library, the best feeling in the world is crawling into a comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep. When you buy bedding from Avocado, you know what you’re lying on is certifiably good in every sense of the word. As the world’s only Climate Neutral Certified® mattress and bedding brand, they use exclusively organic materials, and each item is carbon-negative. These items might seem a little expensive but think of them as investment pieces, bedding you’ll use for years to come. 

3. A Reusable Glass Bottle and Mug

There are hundreds of reusable liquid containers on the market made from several materials, most commonly stainless steel and glass. We love glass and recommend it for many reasons but mainly because it is the most easily recyclable material and it is non-porous. Being non-porous means that it will not hold onto smells as readily as some materials so that you can use one container for multiple kinds of drinks (coffee in the morning and water during the day). JOCO estimates that you eliminate 38,325 single-use vessels from your footprint for every one of their reusable bottles. 

4. Environmentally Friendly Paper

Assuming you’ll have at least one class where you aren’t allowed to take notes on your laptop, there are two things you can look for to determine whether or not a company is producing an eco-friendly notebook. First, it is made from post-consumer waste recycled paper, and second, it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified. Finding a combination of the two is difficult, but there are many companies still setting impressive eco-friendly standards. We love the classic Decomposition books because they are made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and use soy ink to print inside and on the cover. Most of their products are produced in the U.S., so they don’t have to travel as far to reach you, lowering your carbon footprint.

5. Environmentally Friendly Pens

You’ll want environmentally friendly pens to complete your stationary workforce but finding them is extremely difficult. As it turns out, the disposable pen industry is doing better than ever before, and there isn’t much incentive for companies to change their products. The Eco Pen Club noticed just that and now offers a selection of pens (and highlighters!) for your writing enjoyment. They use half of the plastic of other pens, their ink is non-toxic, and they plant a tree for every single order!

As always, you can check the Ethically score of these companies and others like them using the Chrome extension in your browser.

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