On and Off Campus Sustainable Living Tips


  • Bring a cloth or other reusable bag to the store
  • Buy in bulk
  • Purchase used instead of new items from local thrift stores, Mac Free Swap, Mac Free and For Sale Facebook group, and the Fall Habitat for Humanity Garage Sale
  • Purchase sustainable linens and bedding made from materials like bamboo, hemp, natural latex, wool, kapok fiber, buckwheat or millet; avoid synthetic fabrics and fillers
  • Purchase single-ingredient, unscented personal care products; scent them with essential oils yourself if you wish
  • Avoid personal care products that contain petroleum
  • Buy items that have an Energy Star rating

Food and Water

  • Use a reusable water bottle – Macalester has banned the sale of single-use water bottles on campus
  • Go without a refrigerator in your room – a lot of college food doesn’t need refrigeration
  • Cook with a rice cooker, an easy and affordable way to cook
  • Bring your own to-go container for leftovers
  • Limit the frequency and length of your showers or time spent bathing

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
  • Switch off electronics completely with a power strip or physically unplugging them
  • Keep 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

  • 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
  • Run a full washer and dryer to maximize energy efficiency
  • Wash with cold water to increase efficiency
  • Use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and disinfecting
  • Dry your hands on your own towel instead of paper towels