A sustainable lifestyle requires you to make conscientious purchasing decisions, and to take thoughtful actions both in your home and when out and about. To give you a jumpstart on living more sustainably, we’ve put together some things for you to consider. For more ideas check out our Sustainability Guides.


A good set up in your room and in your backpack allows you to easily make more sustainable choices, while saving money and reducing impacts on the environment. Here are suggestions and resources to help you pack for sustainable living.

Be A Thoughtful Consumer


Waste IconMoney IconAvoid buying things you really don’t need.

Waste IconMoney IconBorrow, swap, or rent when possible.

Waste IconMoney IconRepair or refurbish durable goods before purchasing new ones.

Waste IconMoney IconThink of the long-term value and cost of goods, including maintenance and disposal costs.

Waste IconCommunity IconBuy products with minimal packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled, such as buying in bulk.

Waste IconMoney IconAvoid purchasing single-use items.

Community IconMoney IconConsider third-party certifications that may apply to the type of product you’re purchasing (e.g. – Green Seal, Energy Star, Design-for-the-Environment, Fair Trade, B-Corporation, FSC, SFI, EPEAT, Rain Forest Alliance, Cruelty-Free).


Waste IconCommunity IconShop at second-hand stores.

Community IconEnergy IconSupport your community by frequenting locally-owned businesses and markets.

Auburn Has It - No Need to Bring It

Energy IconMoney Icon Personal Car — You can leave your car at home. Instead, use transportation options in Auburn, such as Tiger Transit,  Ride Amigos, and Lee-Russell Public Transit.  Of course, the most sustainable option would be to bike.

 Waste IconCommunity IconRecycling Bags (On Campus) — Keep recyclables out of the landfill. Use the orange and blue bags provided in your residence hall room to carry recyclables to outside bins.

In Your Bedroom

Waste IconMoney IconBedding and Towels — Bring them from home. If you need to buy some, choose organic.

Community IconWellbeing IconDecorations — Add a touch of home by bringing ones you already own or purchase from a local artisan.

Energy IconMoney IconDrying Rack — Set up a portable drying rack to air dry clothes.

Energy IconWellbeing IconFan — Use a fan to cool yourself while in your space.

Energy IconWaste IconFlashlight — If you need to get a flashlight, get a cranking flashlight.

Bathroom Basics

Community IconWellbeing IconBody Products — Purchase body products that have high ratings for health, environmental, and social impacts.

Wellbeing IconMoney IconShower Curtain — Get a fabric shower curtain liner that you can wash and reuse, instead of a plastic one that can emit harmful fumes.

Cleaning Considerations

Waste IconCommunity IconBroom and Dustpan — Plan ahead with your roommate, and get only one broom and dustpan.

Water IconMoney IconCleaning & Laundry Supplies — Purchase Green Seal or Design-for-the-Environment cleaning supplies to protect you and the environment.

Waste IconMoney IconCleaning Towels — Choose cloth, instead of paper.

Common Space

Energy IconMoney IconAppliances — Bring Energy Star certified appliances.

Waste IconMoney IconCarpet — Invest in carpet tiles for easy installation, cleaning, and replacement.

Waste IconMoney IconDish Towels & Napkins — Choose cloth towels & napkins.

Waste IconMoney IconUtensils — Bring reusables for your room, and don’t forget portable eating utensils to carry when you go out.

Waste IconEnergy IconWater Bottle & Pitcher — Bring a pitcher for keeping water or tea in your refrigerator, and don’t forget your bottle for when you head out.

Waste IconCommunity IconShopping Bags — Carry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.

Office Space

Energy IconMoney IconComputer/Tablets — Purchase Energy Star and/or EPEAT certified electronics.

Energy IconMoney IconDesk Lamp — Use only CFL or LED light bulbs.

Waste IconMoney IconDesk Organizer — Get creative and make your own, or buy one made of recycled products.

Waste IconMoney IconMemo Board — Instead of a dry erase board, purchase an easy-to-clean glass memo board.

Community IconEnergy IconPrinter — Coordinate with your roommate to get an Energy Star/EPEAT certified one that can be used with more than one computer or use a printer on campus.

Energy IconMoney Icon‘Smart’ Surge Protector — Don’t just buy any surge protector, get a ‘smart’ one that turns off your accessories when your computer powers down.


The small decisions we make daily together create a large impact. Make a positive difference, by living conscientiously within your home. Here are some tips to get you going.


Energy IconMoney IconKeep your space warm in the summer and cool in the winter.

Energy IconMoney IconWear a sweater in the winter instead of raising the room temperature.

Energy IconWellbeing IconTry to use daylight as much as possible, instead of turning on lights.

Energy IconMoney IconTurn off the lights when leaving the room.

Wellbeing IconMoney IconGet some air-cleansing houseplants for your home instead of using chemical air fresheners.


Water IconMoney IconReport water leaks to your Residence Assistant or Property Manager.

Water IconMoney IconTake shorter showers.  Aim for 5 minutes or less.

Water IconMoney IconTurn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and then turn back on to rinse.

Water IconMoney IconUnnecessary toilet flushing wastes water.


Waste IconCommunity IconInstead of throwing things away, donate unneeded items to area organizations.

Water IconWellbeing IconDo not use fabric softener.

Water IconMoney IconOnly wash full loads of laundry.

Energy IconMoney IconWash clothes in cold water.

Energy IconMoney IconUse a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer, whenever possible.

Waste IconMoney IconClean with reusable rags and sponges instead of paper towels.

Water IconMoney IconGo beyond purchasing green cleaning products, by looking to your cupboards for safe, effective, and cheaper alternatives.


Community IconEnergy IconPurchase food from local farmers and vendors.

Energy IconWellbeing IconChoose produce that is in peak harvest season for our region.

Waste IconMoney IconUtilize reusable dishware, utensils, dish towels, and napkins instead of disposables.

Waste IconEnergy IconAvoid purchasing bottled water.

Water IconWellbeing IconWash with Green Seal or Design-for-the-Environment dish cleaning products.

Waste IconEnergy IconRecycle whether you live on or off campus. If you’re really ambitious, try vermicomposting.

Office Space

Energy IconMoney IconSet computer to sleep after no more than 10 minutes of inactivity, and to turn off after 20 minutes of inactivity.

Energy IconMoney IconUnplug electronics or turn off the power strip when not in use.  Better yet, invest in a smart strip that shuts them off for you.

Waste IconMoney IconTake notes directly on your computer to avoid using paper.

Waste IconMoney IconAvoid printing, when possible.

Waste IconMoney IconSet your computer defaults to 1” or less margins, and to print doubled-sided, draft quality.

Waste IconCommunity IconUse FSC or SFI certified paper and/or paper made with post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content.

Waste IconMoney IconReuse old envelopes and scrap paper whenever possible.

Waste IconMoney IconRecycle your ink/toner cartridges, and buy ones that have been refilled.

Waste IconMoney IconRecycle electronics and batteries.


Making sustainable choices shouldn’t stop at your front door.  There are plenty of ways you can have a positive impact when heading out. Here are some tips to get you moving in the right direction.

Before Heading Out

Money IconWellbeing IconUse a backpack you already have instead of buying a new one, preferably one with a hip strap to protect your back.

Community IconEnergy IconBringing a rain jacket with you when rain is expected will make walking or biking to class more enjoyable. If you need to purchase a rain jacket, support companies that embrace sustainability.

Waste IconCommunity IconCarry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.

Wellbeing IconEnergy IconTaking an umbrella makes walking across campus more comfortable, whether it’s protection from the rain or the sun.

Waste IconMoney IconCarry your own portable eating utensils, and eat in style.

Waste IconEnergy IconFill up your reusable water bottle.

Eating and Drinking

Waste IconEnergy IconRefill water bottles at WEGL Water stations throughout campus to avoid buying bottled water.

Waste IconMoney IconGet discounts at Caribou Coffee when you bring your own mug.

Wellbeing IconEnergy IconEat healthy and local food at Fresh from the Plains.

Community IconWellbeing IconGrow your own food at home or with friends in the Community Garden.

Waste IconEnergy IconFind recycling bins both outside and inside campus buildings for your plastics and aluminum.

Getting Around

Energy IconMoney IconThe best choice is to use no-carbon transportation (walking, bicycle, skateboarding).

Energy IconCommunity IconTake the stairs instead of the elevator.

Community IconWellbeing IconKnow biking guidelines and laws.

Energy IconMoney IconPlan errands to avoid multiple trips.

Energy IconMoney IconRide Tiger Transit on and off campus.

Energy IconMoney IconCreate a Ride Amigos profile to carpool with other students.

Energy IconCommunity IconConsider the Groome Transportation shuttle to get to and from the Atlanta airport.

Energy IconCommunity IconWhen flying, purchase carbon offsets.

Energy IconMoney IconIf you own a personal vehicle keep it well maintain and check your tire pressure regularly.

Getting Involved

Community IconWellbeing IconTake at least one sustainability-related course before graduating.

Community IconWellbeing IconJoin a sustainability-related student group.

Community IconWellbeing IconVolunteer through IMPACT to help build community.

Community IconWellbeing IconEncourage others to live consciously and to get involved.

Inside Buildings

Energy IconMoney IconIf you’re the last one out, turn lights off when leaving a room, including public bathrooms and common areas.

Water IconMoney IconReport water leaks and maintenance issues to building staff.

Waste IconMoney IconFind and use the recycling bins.

Sustainable living requires an understanding of interconnections, and thinking about a variety of scales like personal, local, regional, and global.  To help you identify the primary areas of impact for the listed strategies, we’ve included the following icons.

Community IconCommunity

Money IconEconomy

Energy IconEnergy

Waste LogoMaterials

Water IconWater

Wellbeing IconWellbeing