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Eco-friendly dorm room essentials for back-to-school

It’s officially back to school time! Along with the craziness of starting the third academic year to coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic, if you’re headed to college, you need to make sure you have all the essentials for a super cozy and aesthetically pleasing dorm room.

Along with your plush pillows, mini succulents, and fairy lights, don’t forget to grab some eco-friendly dorm essentials that will help you reduce waste and save money. Because goodness knows this planet has enough trash, and a college student’s wallet can always use a break.

Check out these super easy ways and budget-friendly ways to make your dorm room an inviting and eco-friendly space!

The ultimate eco-friendly college dorm essentials list

Chemex Coffee Maker

Aside from looking so dang cool on your counter, this coffee maker is 100% waste free! Made entirely out of glass, wood, and leather, this coffee maker also makes an unbelievably delicious cup of coffee that will help you survive those late study nights.

Chemex Reusable Coffee Filters

Did you know that you can reuse coffee filters? We love the organic cotton coffee filters from CoffeeSock, which fit perfectly in the Chemex coffee maker, but you can find all different types online. This is a super easy way to save waste every morning. Plus, if you save the coffee grounds to use as compost… it’s a double win!

Wool Dryer Balls

Replace disposable dryer sheets with wool dryer balls. These little items are like magic! They bounce around in your dryer and help your clothes dry faster by separating them from each other. And if you spray them with a little water, they can reduce static. Because they help your clothes dry faster, they cut down on dryer time, which also saves electricity.

Pixie Menstrual Cup

If you really want to reduce waste in your life, try cutting out disposable period products. Each woman uses approximately 10,000 tampons in her lifetime… and that’s not even counting pads and panty liners. One reusable Pixie Cup lasts up to 10 years. Plus, you can wear it up to 12 hours at a time. No more stuffing your bag with tampons before you leave for class! Shop Pixie Cups.

Classic pixie cup combo pack

Pixie Menstrual Cup Steamer

This handy steamer will get your menstrual cup sparkling clean in just three minutes. Just add water! It’s the perfect option for a dorm room where you may not be able to boil your cup after each cycle. (Plus, who wants their menstrual cup on full display in a shared kitchen?) Shop steamers.

Pixie Pads

Whether you want to wear a backup method with your menstrual cup, or you just prefer pads, reusable pads give you another way to manage your period in an eco-friendly way. Pixie Pads are made with organic cotton and are super soft and comfortable. Simply wash and reuse — no more emergency drug store runs for that time of the month! Shop Pixie Pads.

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Reusable bamboo utensils

It’s all too tempting to grab a set of plastic silverware when you have to eat out on the go. This handy little bamboo utensils set is perfect to use in your dorm room, keep in the car, or take on the go!


Forget buying stacks of textbooks for those general education classes that you know you’ll never use again! Instead, you can save paper and purchase or rent the books on an e-reader! Plus, it’s super handy to have when you’re traveling home for Christmas break and need a book to read on the flight! Shop Kindles on Amazon.

Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag

Sandwich bags are discarded by the millions every day! It’s so simple and easy to use a silicone sandwich bag that you can reuse every day and save hundreds of bags from landfills. Imagine how much waste would be saved if everyone took just this one simple step!

Collapsible Water Bottle

We get it… not everyone wants to drag a gigantic water bottle around wherever they go. That’s when a collapsible water bottle is a perfect choice — when collapsed, it can fit inside your backpack and then you can just expand it when you need to fill it up!

Reusable Straw

Plastic straw bans are spreading. Help keep straws out of the ocean by keeping a reusable straw in your bag and pulling it out when you grab a drink!

Organic Hankie

You’re curled up in a corner of the library with a copy of The Notebook… chances are you’re gonna be looking for a tissue to wipe that tear or two. We’re taking you back to the 1900s with this one, but it doesn’t do any harm to keep a hankie in your purse for emergencies and save the tissues from heading straight into the trash. We love these organic cotton HankyBooks!

Reusable Cotton Facial Rounds

It’s super easy to make this switch! Reusable facial rounds are soft and gentle on your skin, and can be used with your favorite makeup remover or toner! All you have to do is drop them into the wash after each use and they’re as good as new! Some brands are even compostable once you’ve worn them out.

Reusable Beverage Cup

When you make your daily Starbucks run, bring along a reusable cup for your cold brew. It doesn’t slow down the process at all, and it saves a huge amount of trash each day. Tip: keep your cup clean. Baristas don’t like it when customer bring in icky mugs!

KeepCup Brew cup, from $23.00

We hope this post was helpful to you as you find new ways to save waste in your daily life. If you are looking for more ways to reduce waste every day, check out our blog post about creating a zero waste bathroom.

What are some steps you take to reduce waste in your life? Do you have suggestions for other products? Let us know in the comments!

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Kayla Martin

Kayla is a wife and homeschool mom of three who is passionate about empowering women to care for and advocate for themselves. Kayla cares deeply about holistic wellness of spirit, soul, and body and being good stewards of creation.

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