Sustainability - Green Notes

How to Stay Eco-Friendly in a Dorm Room

graphicWelcome back to school, Eco Eagles! It is so nice to see new faces on campus this semester. To help everyone out with their campus sustainability, I have comprised a list of 10 tips on staying eco-friendly while living in a dorm room. It can be very difficult to live a low-waste lifestyle when much of the resources given to you are based on ease and convenience. However, I hope these tips open your eyes up to how simple it can be to remain environmentally friendly no matter where you are. Let’s get started!

Tip #1: Keep reusable items such as bamboo cutlery, cloth napkins, stainless steel water bottles, tupperware containers, and silicone sandwich/snack bags on hand. Having these items in your dorm is a great way to knock out the need for single-use plastic. If you know you are going to eat in the cafeteria, consider bringing your own cutlery and/or to-go container. Tech’s cafeteria has an amazing reusable to-go container program called “Ozzi.” The Ozzi machine is located outside of the cafeteria and works very similarly to a vending machine. Place the used Ozzi container in the machine, and it will dispense a coin for you to use the next time you need a to-go container. “These containers are the newest way we are implementing safety precautions while also keeping it green!” (Tennessee Tech Dining). 

Tip #2: Take advantage of the hydration stations on campus. There is at least one hydration station in every building and a few located outdoors. These stations are a great way to decrease campus waste as they encourage students, faculty, and staff to bring their own reusable water bottle to campus. 

Tip #3: Decorate your room with DIY or thrifted home decor. This is such a great way to personalize your dorm with unique, one-of-a-kind decorations. You could even make this a fun group activity to do with your roommates and friends. 

Tip #4: Walk or ride your bike to class. This is a great way to get some exercise in, soak up some vitamin D, and save the planet all at once! Did you know that Marc L. Burnett Fitness Center has a program called Bike Share where you can rent bikes for FREE? All you need is your Eagle ID!

Tip #5: Coordinate with your roommates to make sure that you do not bring multiples of items that you only need one of. This can be as simple as sending them a quick text or email! Having more than one of things like microwaves, rugs, and mini fridges will take up so much space in your dorm and be incredibly wasteful of time, energy, and money!

Tip #6: Don’t just buy items that you “might need.” Really take the time to think about what will and will not be useful to you. Plus, if you realize you need something later on, you can always run to the store and pick it up after the fact! There are so many guides online that list out everything you actually need in your dorm. Here is a link to a great resource on eco-friendly dorm packing!

Tip #7: Keep a recycling bin in your dorm room. Having a small bin in your dorm dedicated to recycling will help keep you more motivated to recycle! Once it fills up, empty it out into the campus recycling bins in your dorm building's main lobby.

Tip #8: Keep a small stash of reusable grocery bags on hand! Plastic grocery bags are unfortunately non-recyclable and account for a large amount of pollution in our ecosystem. However, if you do find yourself with some plastic grocery bags, try to find ways to reuse them, such as using them as garbage bags. 

Tip #9: Choose plant based options when the cafeteria offers them. “The Caf” offers vegan and vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday! Check out the Dining Halls website to see a daily menu!

Tip #10: Fill your closet with thrifted clothing! Thrifting is such a fun way to accumulate new, unique pieces of clothing without breaking the bank! Plus, reusing and upcycling used clothing is so good for the planet! Did you know that the Office of Sustainability hosts a free student thrift store every Thursday? Wings Up-Cycled is located on the second floor of the University Services building. Feel free to stop by any Thursday from 10am-1pm to shop or to donate some clothing! Keep an eye out for updates on our social media platforms.

There you have it—10 incredibly easy tips to live as eco-friendly as possible in a dorm room! We challenge all of you, dorm residents or not, to make a conscious decision every single day to do something kind for our planet. Whether it be one of the previously mentioned tips or something you thought of on your it! And be sure to share it with us on social media! We hope this semester goes well for you all, and as always, email us at with any questions. Wings up, Eco Eagles!

Instagram: @tntechecoeagles

Twitter: @tntechecoeagles

Facebook: TTU Sustainable Campus Committee


Experience Tech For Yourself

Visit us to see what sets us apart.

Schedule Your Visit
Sustainable Projects