Whether you live on or off campus at Macalester, use these tips to make your living space during your college days as sustainable as possible.


  • Bring a cloth or other reusable bag before you head to the store
  • Buy in bulk
  • Can you buy something that is reusable? It may be more in the beginning but you’ll likely end up saving some waste
  • Purchasing used items has less of a footprint than purchasing new items.  Local thrift stores, Mac Free Swap, Mac Free and For Sale Facebook group, and the Fall Habitat for Humanity Garage Sale are all available resources
  • If you can, purchase sustainable linens and bedding made from materials like bamboo, hemp, natural latex, wool, kapok fiber, buckwheat or millet; avoid synthetic fabrics and fillers when you can
  • Consider purchasing single-ingredient, unscented personal care products – they likely have a smaller footprint than those that do not; scent them with essential oils yourself if you wish
  • Avoid personal care products that contain petroleum
  • Buy items that have an Energy Star rating if you need them

Food and Water


  • Use a reusable water bottle – Macalester has banned the sale of single-use water bottles on campus and there are bottle fillers located throughout campus
  • Do you need a refrigerator in your room?  Consider going without one – a lot of college food doesn’t need refrigeration
  • Cooking with a rice cooker can be an easy and affordable way to cook
  • Bring your own to-go container if you might have leftovers somewhere
  • Limit the frequency and length of your showers or time spent bathing

Grocery Shopping Close to Campus

  • Widmer’s
  • Kowalski’s
  • Whole Foods
  • Korte’s
  • Cub
  • Target
  • Trader Joe’s

Energy and Electronics

  • Purchase energy efficient lighting if you live off campus; Macalester puts a lot of effort into efficient lighting if you live on campus
  • Most electronics use power even if you’ve turned them off. Consider switching them off completely with a power strip or physically unplugging them
  • Macalester has plenty of printers for you to use on campus; you probably don’t need to bring your own
  • Switch things off when you’re not using them and keep your windows closed
  • Run your fan in reverse to draw warm air down in the winter
  • Check out your fridge: cover food, clean the compressor foils, check the seal and put in water jugs to keep it full and colder
  • Use an electric blanket or hot water bottle to stay warm at night
  • Air dry dishes

Laundry and Cleaning

  • Growing plants in your living space can freshen the air around you
  • Avoid household cleaners or laundry detergent with chemicals
  • Dry your clothes on a rack instead of using the dryer–most residence halls have these available for checkout
  • Running a partially full washer or dryer is not an efficient process – especially if you’re paying each time you run it
  • The colder the wash water, the more efficient it is
  • Vinegar and baking soda are surprisingly efficient at cleaning and even disinfecting
  • Dry your hands on your own towel instead of using paper towels