Monday, May 3, 2021

10 SUSTAINABLE Dorm Room Essentials

The most sustainable thing you can do for your dorm is to reuse and repurpose what you already have! Of course, some things you need to buy new. I went through a lot of websites, online stores, and customer reviews before finding dorm necessities that were environmentally-friendly, good-quality, and affordable. Hopefully this list will make dorm shopping easier for you!


When researching, I used the Good On You Directory to search brands. They rate brands based on their environmental and social sustainability and their price.


One more note- I'm not being payed by any of these companies (although I wouldn't object if they wanted to sponsor The Blergh :)). Even if I was being paid, I would never endorse something that I wasn't totally on board with.


1. Sheets
Sol Organics

I got two colors of the twin XL percale sheets, white and dove grey. Although I like how both of these colors look, I recommend going with a grey so you don't have to wash a separate load of whites! Even though my dorm gets hot, these sheets feel nice and cool. My mom was concerned they would get wrinkly, but I haven't noticed any more wrinkles than usual and anyways, it's college and nobody pays attention to that.

Sol Organix uses organic materials and doesn't use plastic packaging. My sheets came in this cool cloth sack, which I can now repurpose!



2. Comforter
Pottery Barn

It seems sketchy to me that a brand should have only one line of sustainable products, and not care about the rest, as though they're just doing it to get in on a trend. But at least they're making an effort! It's hard to complain when they have a huge range of cute, affordable, fair trade, environmentally- and socially-responsibly-produced twin XL comforters. 

I got the "Puffy" one. It's very soft and warm. You can get a matching sham pillow, although I didn't because I didn't want clutter. I was so happy that this came in my favorite shade of my favorite color! Bonus, it's a chilled-out version of Clemson's supermegaintense Regalia Purple.



3. Towels
Eco Terry

These are just as soft, fluffy, and absorbent as any other bath towel, but they're made from recycled cotton and recycled plastic water bottles. How groovy is that? I got the 6-piece set (2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, 2 washcloths) in the iron color. 

I think I bought them on Amazon because it was cheaper than buying directly from Eco Terry, although they weren't that expensive. I know that's not being as supportive of the Eco Terry company, but I was trying to conserve funds.


4. Books

Loose leaf textbooks All my professors had us buy online textbooks that came with a subscription to online activities. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I have a hard time studying from online books. I like to be able to flip back and forth between pages. Where I could, I bought only the activity subscription and then bought a loose-leaf version of the text. It saves money, saves space, saves some of the production. I keep all the pages in a 3-ring binder and then I can pass them on to someone, recycle them, or repurpose them when I'm done. 

I found most of my loose-leafs by digging through Amazon, although some textbook companies sell a loose-leaf version. I also used Cheapestbookprice.com.


Used books and ebooks are often cheaper than new. They're both easy to find online. Plus, used books come with more personality. I loved my stack of used nature books.



Rocketbook My friend gifted me a Rocketbook for Christmas and I've used it a ton. It's a dry-erase notebook, so the pages are thin like paper, but it comes with a special erasable pen as well as a washcloth for bigger erasures. If you want to save your writing before erasing it, you can send it to the Cloud. This saves paper and space, as you can use one notebook for pretty much everything. I've used it for freewriting, poetry, and studying, and at one point my friend "just wanted to try it" and ended up doing half her engineering homework on it. In fact, I think it warrants a whole review post to itself. Stay tuned for that in the coming months.


My mom thought this looked like my friend was having a beer. It's an iced coffee from All In haha.



5. Clothes

It was hard to resist the urge to buy all new clothes when I headed off to college. I managed to only buy new what I absolutely needed and couldn't get from a thrift store. For the rest, I went through what I had and brought the simple clothes that I could repurpose for a lot of different occasions. Denim jeans, solid color tanktops, comfy sweatshirts and the like can be transformed by swapping pairs and adding layers and accessories. I talk about this like I have great style, but I really don't and have a hard time visualizing what looks good and what doesn't. For my second semester, I made sketches of outfits inspired by different aesthetics (mostly ballet and fictional characters) based on what clothes I had.



Boody EcoWear

Well, I overshare enough on this blog that I might as well talk about underwear. This is probably my favorite product out of everything on this list.

source: Tenor.com

It's made from bamboo. And it's so dang soft. I got padded and unpadded Shaper Bras, Classic Bikinis, and a G-string(and it's actually comfortable. Do you know how hard it is to come by a comfy thong?). The padded bras are comfortable enough for everyday wear but can also double as a sports bra.

Bonus- recyclable/compostable packaging!!!



Athleta

I love Athleta for their commitment to representation and sustainable materials. And also because all their stuff is comfy and made for having fun in!

I got my rain coat and my winter coat from Athleta. They both do their job well, but still feel light and easy to move in. I also have an Athleta bathing suit that I use for surfing and skiing, and even though it's a bikini it's as supportive as a racing suit!

Haha I should clarify- waterskiing. I could have just edited the previous paragraph, but the idea of zooming down a snowy mountain in nothing but a bikini made me giggle.

Athleta has a lot of other activewear, too!


Sunski

Sunski sunglasses are made from recycled oceanbound plastic. They're polarized, they stay put when you're active, they're comfortable, and they're pretty dang cute. They  usually have a several models on clearance and I highly recommend taking advantage of this as their normal prices are around $50-$90. The ones I bought on clearance ended up being only a few more dollars than the cheap ones I used to get at the kiosk in Publix.



6. Self Care

Ethique

My sister gifted me a sampler of Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars and I'm in love. I don't want to say too much now because I want to write a whole post just for them! The idea is natural hair care and zero plastic waste. And they smell great.

I will say that bar shampoo and conditioner can get pricey, so until I have a reliable paycheck I will probably buy bulk shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles. Buying bulk gets you more product for less money and packaging.

Soap is more affordable (and better, in my opinion) in bar form.

We already talked about undies so I might as well tell you now, I can count on my fingers the number of times I've shaved my legs in the past year. Shaving is kind of a pain in a dorm shower; not shaving saves water and time and sticks it to the man. When I do shave, I use soap instead of shaving cream, and a reusable razor (when I don't forget that it's reusable and accidentally throw it away when I need a new blade like I did last week).


7. First aid

When I was making my first-aid kit, I found an ancient first-aid kit in a bathroom cabinet. I know it was old because I haven't had Barbie Band-aids in at least fifteen years. Always use what you have before buying new! I kept the Band-aids, but I did away with the fifteen-year-old aspirin tablets.

Aloe Aloe soothes burns and itches. Before I moved in, my mom surprised me with a live aloe plant along with some other succulents. It's so nice to have something green and growing in the windowsill, and if I'm sunburnt after skiing I break off the tip of a leaf and rub the gel inside onto my burn.

Loose-leaf tea Mint or ginger tea soothes the stomach and the soul. Teabags usually contain plastic, so loose-leaf is the lower-waste choice. I picked up a tin of mint basil tea from The Tea and Spice Exchange in Greenville and I love it! Once the tin is empty, I can get it refilled at any of their shop's locations.


8. Decorations

Use what you have! I brought posters and my lil stuffed Tiger from home. I also cut out some images from an art magazine and put them up with sticky tack over my bed. I'm fortunate to have a lot of artist friends, so over time the art on my walls accumulated.

Plants They purify the air, it's rewarding to watch something grow, and they are pretty. :)

Accidental jungle in a bottle


9. Dining

Check out my Low-Waste Dining Hall Tips!


10. Cleaning

I'm still learning eco swaps for most cleaning products, but for disinfecting, I kept a spray bottle filled with a little white vinegar with a lot of water- a trick my mom taught me.


This year, I learned a lot about living low-waste by trial and error. I'm excited to share it with you so you can breeze past the "error" part! For more sustainable swaps, check out my Low-Waste Dance Bag Essentials (they'd work for any athlete, not just dancers). 


I know it's college decision season so y'all are thinking about your spaces for next year. Are you planning to use these tips next year? Any other sustainable dorm ideas? Did I overshare in this one? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, via email, or on Instagram or Facebook.


Peace,


Heather

2 comments:

  1. 1) Cool desk setup! Especially the map. 2) Thanks for the tips! Especially on the sunglasses - I'll be in the market for a new set soon and it's great to know that there is a sustainable version of pretty much everything now.

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    Replies
    1. 1) Thanks! It was my little cave. 2)I highly recommend those sunglasses, they're great for being active outdoors. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :)

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