By Lara Isaacson | Director of Energy & Waste
May 24 2015

There are numerous guides on how to be sustainable online but it can be overwhelming to look at. Most of them are not made for college students and most of them are not location-specific. The problems and solutions that will work for a suburban area in Sacramento will not all work for a UCSD student. Therefore, using some of the principles gleaned from the other guides, this is a non-comprehensive “tips to be greener” guide is for you.

Yes, you at UCSD! If you have any more tips, feel free to post them in the comments!

1. Pot a Plant


Keep a potted plant (or two) in your room to restore air quality from all those night held up in your room studying. Gift it to a friend in a lower class when you graduate.

2. Choose to Commute

Bike, skateboard, longboard, or walk to class and/or La Jolla Village square. It creates a good excuse not to go the gym

3. It You See It, Report It

Report leaking sprinklers or faucets to HDH or campus maintenance at (858) 534-2600. They are often not around at night to see the water squirting on the sidewalk, so it really helps!

4. Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

Politely refuse unwanted library walk flyers. If only a few people took them, they would quickly stop printing so many.

5. Two (Sided) Is Better Than One

Ask your professor if you can print your paper double-sided, or even better, if they would be willing to switch to the TurnItIn system with more academic integrity security (now available through TED).

6. Textbook Tip

Buy used books from other students and sell yours to other students on the Facebook “Textbook Exchange.” Also, check to see if Amazon has your textbook available for rent or Kindle app so that you don’t get saddled with a bunch of books in the first place.

7. Glass Is Class


Reuse glass jars that your food comes in (such as pasta sauce jars) for food safe-storage containers. (Plastic containers are not microwaveable and leach toxins into food and the environment.)

8. Only Got $20 In Your Pocket?

Check out the reasonable prices of the Food Co-op, the General Store, and Groundwork Books in the Original Student Center or the Friends Resale Shop in the International Center for great local and eco-conscious finds. Pop some tags! (Reusing is better than recycling because it uses less energy!)

9. Reuse, There’s No Dispute

Ditch the disposable ware for a new or used set of reusable dishes and napkins to impress a date with your classiness or not.


10. No Thank You


If you don’t need the freebee, don’t take it. Something that is going to break in two second or is the 1500th pin in your collection, will probably eventually end up in the landfill. So politely refuse unless it is truly useful, like that eye mask you’ve been wanting so you can sleep while your roommate’s light is on.

11. Save That Bag Liner

Don’t use a bag liner for recyclables. If you are properly rising the items that go in the recycling, there shouldn’t be a need for a bag lining the can.

12. Baby, It’s Worth It

Bring your reusable cup to the dining halls and markets or Muir Woods to get a discount on your favorite drink.

13. Give Back For More


Roger’s Community Garden (Revelle)


Ellie’s Garden at ERC

Compost with Ellie’s Garden or Roger’s garden! Bring out your produce scraps to “the Farm” in Ellie’s or by the Green House in Roger’s.
href=”https://www.facebook.com/UCSDGardenMovement”> https://www.facebook.com/UCSDGardenMovement

14. Glass for Cash

Buy milk in a glass bottle and bring back the glass bottle for a $1.50 to $2.00 refund at Whole Foods (which accepts Triton Cash).

15. Turn (Off) For What?

You’ve heard it before, but stop fighting the water while you’re sudsing up in the shower. Water off, soap-up. Water on, rinse. Repeat as needed.

16. Omnomnomnom…


Satisfy midterms and finals cravings with the eco-conscious and fair trade snack options at the markets.

17. Fresh Off The Farm

Get some fresh herbs or veggies from Ellie’s Garden or Roger’s Garden for your next cooking experiment.

18. Eco Eating

Look into meatless meal options (at Roots, farmer’s markets, the Loft, etc). Meat production uses half of our precious water in the US. Vote for more fresh produce by eating more of it. If you do eat meat and dairy, look for pasture-raised, local, and organic options.

19. In Love With The Local

Shop for local produce at the Tuesday Farmer’s market by the Triton Statue to lower the carbon footprint of your food.

20. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Know what can be recycled on-campus and avoid buying what’s not. http://hdh.ucsd.edu/sustainability/whattodo.asp

21. Get Involved


Want to do more? Get connected with an org! There are over 17 student-run sustainably-focused orgs on campus. The Student Sustainability Collective is a great hub to get you connected. The Sustainable Resource Center is located in Price Center next to PC Theater. https://studentsustainability.ucsd.edu