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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 IconSDG 12Avoid buying things you really don’t need.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Borrow, swap, or rent when possible.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Repair or refurbish durable goods before purchasing new ones.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Think of the long-term value and cost of goods, including maintenance and disposal costs.

Waste IconCommunity IconSDG 12Buy products with minimal packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled, such as buying in bulk.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Avoid purchasing single-use items.

Community IconMoney IconSDG 12 SDG 13SDG 16Consider 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 IconSDG 12Shop at second-hand stores.

Community IconEnergy Icon SDG8SDG 11SDG 12Support your community by frequenting locally-owned businesses and markets.

Auburn Has It - No Need to Bring It

Energy IconMoney Icon SDG3SDG 9SDG 12Personal 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 IconSDG 9SDG 11SDG 12Recycling 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 Icon SDG3SDG 12SDG 15Bedding and Towels — Bring them from home. If you need to buy some, choose organic.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG3SDG 12Decorations — Add a touch of home by bringing ones you already own or purchase from a local artisan.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 13Drying Rack — Set up a portable drying rack to air dry clothes.

Energy IconWellbeing IconSDG 12SDG 13Fan — Use a fan to cool yourself while in your space.

Energy IconWaste IconSDG 12SDG 13Flashlight — If you need to get a flashlight, get a cranking flashlight.

Bathroom Basics

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG3SDG 6SDG 12Body Products — Purchase body products that have high ratings for health, environmental, and social impacts.

Wellbeing IconMoney IconSDG3SDG 12Shower 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 IconSDG 12Broom and Dustpan — Plan ahead with your roommate, and get only one broom and dustpan.

Water IconMoney IconSDG3SDG 12SDG 15Cleaning & Laundry Supplies — Purchase Green Seal or Design-for-the-Environment cleaning supplies to protect you and the environment.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 15Cleaning Towels — Choose cloth, instead of paper.

Common Space

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12Appliances — Bring Energy Star certified appliances.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Carpet — Invest in carpet tiles for easy installation, cleaning, and replacement.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 15Dish Towels & Napkins — Choose cloth towels & napkins.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Utensils — Bring reusables for your room, and don’t forget portable eating utensils to carry when you go out.

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG3SDG 6SDG 12Water 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 IconSDG 12Shopping Bags — Carry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.

Office Space

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12Computer/Tablets — Purchase Energy Star and/or EPEAT certified electronics.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12Desk Lamp — Use only CFL or LED light bulbs.


Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Desk Organizer — Get creative and make your own, or buy one made of recycled products.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Memo Board — Instead of a dry erase board, purchase an easy-to-clean glass memo board.

Community IconEnergy IconSDG7SDG 12Printer — 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 IconSDG7SDG 12‘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 IconSDG7SDG 11Keep your space warm in the summer and cool in the winter.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7Wear a sweater in the winter instead of raising the room temperature.

Energy IconWellbeing IconSDG7Try to use daylight as much as possible, instead of turning on lights.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7Turn off the lights when leaving the room.

Wellbeing IconMoney IconSDG3SDG 12Get some air-cleansing houseplants for your home instead of using chemical air fresheners.


Water IconMoney IconSDG 6SDG 9SDG 11Report water leaks to your Residence Assistant or Property Manager.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 6Take shorter showers.  Aim for 5 minutes or less.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 6Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and then turn back on to rinse.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 6Unnecessary toilet flushing wastes water.


Waste IconCommunity IconSDG10SDG 12Instead of throwing things away, donate unneeded items to area organizations.

Water IconWellbeing IconSDG 6SDG 12Do not use fabric softener.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 13Only wash full loads of laundry.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 13Wash clothes in cold water.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12SDG 13Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of a dryer, whenever possible.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Clean with reusable rags and sponges instead of paper towels.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 12Go beyond purchasing green cleaning products, by looking to your cupboards for safe, effective, and cheaper alternatives.


Community IconEnergy IconSDG 2SDG8SDG 11Purchase food from local farmers and vendors.

Energy IconWellbeing IconSDG 2SDG3SDG 12Choose produce that is in peak harvest season for our region.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Utilize reusable dishware, utensils, dish towels, and napkins instead of disposables.

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG3SDG 6SDG 12Avoid purchasing bottled water.

Water IconWellbeing IconSDG 12SDG 16Wash with Green Seal or Design-for-the-Environment dish cleaning products.

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG 12SDG 15Recycle whether you live on or off campus. If you’re really ambitious, try vermicomposting.

Office Space

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 13Set computer to sleep after no more than 10 minutes of inactivity, and to turn off after 20 minutes of inactivity.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12SDG 13Unplug 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 IconSDG 12SDG 15Take notes directly on your computer to avoid using paper.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 15Avoid printing, when possible.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 15Set your computer defaults to 1” or less margins, and to print doubled-sided, draft quality.

Waste IconCommunity IconSDG 9SDG 15SDG 16Use FSC or SFI certified paper and/or paper made with post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 15Reuse old envelopes and scrap paper whenever possible.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Recycle your ink/toner cartridges, and buy ones that have been refilled.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12Recycle 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 IconSDG3SDG 12Use a backpack you already have instead of buying a new one, preferably one with a hip strap to protect your back.

Community IconEnergy IconSDG3SDG 12Bringing 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 IconSDG 12Carry a compact reusable shopping bag, in case you buy something that won’t fit in your backpack.

Wellbeing IconEnergy IconSDG3Taking an umbrella makes walking across campus more comfortable, whether it’s protection from the rain or the sun.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 12Carry your own portable eating utensils, and eat in style.

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG3SDG 6SDG 12Fill up your reusable water bottle.

Eating and Drinking

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG3SDG 6SDG 12Refill water bottles at WEGL Water stations throughout campus to avoid buying bottled water.

Wellbeing IconEnergy IconSDG3Eat healthy and local food at Fresh from the Plains.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 2SDG3SDG 15Grow your own food at home or with friends in the Community Garden.

Waste IconEnergy IconSDG 9SDG 12Find recycling bins both outside and inside campus buildings for your plastics and aluminum.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 2SDG3If you or a resident are experiencing food insecurity, visit the Campus Food Pantry.

Getting Around

Energy IconMoney IconSDG3SDG 11The best choice is to use no-carbon transportation (walking, bicycle, skateboarding).

Energy IconCommunity IconSDG3SDG 11Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG3SDG 11Know biking guidelines and laws.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG 12Plan errands to avoid multiple trips.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG 9SDG 12Ride Tiger Transit on and off campus.

Energy IconCommunity IconSDG 9SDG 11SDG 12Consider the Groome Transportation shuttle to get to and from the Atlanta airport.

Energy IconCommunity IconSDG 12SDG 13When flying, purchase carbon offsets.

Energy IconMoney IconSDG7SDG 12If you own a personal vehicle keep it well maintain and check your tire pressure regularly.

Getting Involved

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 4Take at least one sustainability-related course before graduating.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 4SDG 11SDG 17Join a sustainability-related student group.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 4SDG 11SDG 17Volunteer through IMPACT to help build community.

Community IconWellbeing IconSDG 17Encourage others to live consciously and to get involved.

Inside Buildings

Energy IconMoney IconSDG 12SDG 13If you’re the last one out, turn lights off when leaving a room, including public bathrooms and common areas.

Water IconMoney IconSDG 6SDG7SDG 12Report water leaks and maintenance issues to building staff.

Waste IconMoney IconSDG 11SDG 12Find 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

Sustainable Development Goals provide objectives focused on improving the lives of people and the health of our planet. Each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) focuses on a specific area of need. To learn which goal your actions help achieve, the following icons are included.

SDG 1SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 2SDG 2: Zero Hunger

SDG3SDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

SDG 4SDG 4: Quality Education

SDG 5SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 6SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

SDG7SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy

SDG8SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

SDG 9SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure

SDG10SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 11SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

SDG 12SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

SDG 13SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG 14SDG 14: Life Below Water

SDG 15SDG 15: Life on Land

SDG 16SDG 16: Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions

SDG 17SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals