The 10 Best Ways to Make Your School Campus More Sustainable

Aimee Laurence | April 16, 2020 | Leave a Comment Download as PDF

Nottingham University: the entrance to the Sustainable Chemistry Laboratory

Do you find that your campus isn’t very green but you’re not sure what to do about it? There are so many ways for school campuses to be more sustainable with the right initiatives and support. It’s important for universities and students to be leaders in green movements because academics and students are often seen as the precursors and motivators for change in the rest of society. Evidently, it’s not always easy to make the switch to a greener campus because some options require a lot of investment from the school, but challenges and obstacles don’t mean that it’s not worth trying. Here are 10 different ways that you can promote sustainability and help your college go green.

1. Install Recycling and Composting Stations on Campus

The easiest way to start having a more sustainable college campus is by improving the recycling and composting program. It’s an easy thing to implement and a sure win for green initiatives. Every location on campus that currently has a trash bin should also get a recycling bin – either a couple for different materials or a single-stream option. You can also add a bin for organic waste. This can reduce up to 50 percent of misdirected waste. These bins can come with simple images to show users what waste goes in which bin.

There are certain easy actions you can take to get this going on your campus, such as contacting local recycling facilities and finding out what materials they accept. Speak with your school’s facility unit to find extra bins and label them properly. With their approval, add these bins in the busiest parts of the school, especially where there are already garbage bins and near food vendor sites.

2. Set Up an E-Waste Drive 

If there’s one place full of outdated and unusable electronics, it’s college campuses. Consider hosting an e-waste collection drive to successfully promote sustainability on your campus. Simply speak with the facilities department for permission and put collection bins in a parking lot of the campus.

Talk to local businesses and vendors to find out which ones accept electronics and if they accept bulk deliveries. Ask your university or local area businesses to sponsor the drive, and use social media to share information about the drive, including a list of all the accepted electronics.

3. Start a Moving Season Donation Program

During moving season from dorms, there is often a lot of junk to go through from clothes students don’t want to keep to extra food in the kitchens. Instead of all these items going into the trash bin, set up a donation program so this stuff can go to people in need.

George McNulty, an educator at State Of Writing and Boom Essays, suggests that you “connect with local charities to find out the best way to organize this program. Students can donate all their unwanted items and food (non-perishables) to the partner charities instead of sending it all to landfill.”

4. Get Active with Bike Rentals

Biking around campus and to and from home is much better for the environment than taking a car or even the bus. Setting up a bike-share program is an excellent way to encourage students to not drive during the semester. Ask the school administration to pitch in for the bike costs, locks, racks, and any associated maintenance costs. Not only is it greener and reduces vehicle emissions, but it promotes exercise and a healthier lifestyle. It also helps students to think greener in general.

5. Attend Summits on Sustainability

What better way to expose the student population to the benefits of sustainability than meeting people with similar mindsets and going to a sustainability event? Look into sustainability events in your area and organize a school trip to one. It’s a great way to increase membership of a sustainability-on-campus committee and bring great ideas to campus.

As per Kyle Frasier, a teacher at Assignment Writing Service and Paper Fellows, “another option is a sustainability fair which covers concepts like energy efficiency. Ask advocates in your region to come to speak at school on reducing waste, energy-saving techniques, and how everyone can do their part to reduce environmental impacts.”

6. Reduce Paper Waste 

Schools are some of the worst offenders when it comes to paper waste, from exams to syllabus and course content. Talk to your administration about different ways to reduce paper waste, from online course materials to digitizing a lot of the library resources. The library building is another great place to go ask for support in reducing paper waste on campus.

7. Visit Renewable Energy Buildings

You can organize a tour for a day to a building that is renewable energy or a leader in sustainability to get inspired for your own college campus. Check out solar-powered buildings or LEED-certified ones. They will often host tours and learning experiences for students that want to know more about sustainable architecture and building with renewable energy.

Look into nearby wind farms to visit or solar installations. This is a good way to find out the possibilities available and start planning projects for your green campus. You can often learn about how those initiatives got started and get good advice.

8. Start a Garden on Campus

A great green initiative is to start a community garden for organic produce. You can either grow produce in partnership with the dining hall or local food options or donate what you grow to the local food bank or pantry. It’s a good way to educate campus students and faculty on healthy living.

Gardening is also a great stress reliever and contributes to good mental health. Jenny Paulson, an eco blogger at Big Assignments and Ox Essays, says that you should “speak to your administration about the best place to start this community garden and find great charities in the area that you could meet with to donate fresh veggies.”

9. Bring in Composting

Similarly to the recycling program and adding some organic waste receptacles around town, you should start a full composting program on campus. Food waste builds up quickly on campus due to all the food options and cafeterias. When you compost, there’s a lot less food sent to landfill. You can even look into using biodegradable tableware instead of plastic options in the dining hall. Composting can include everything from scraps left behind from food preparation to what’s left on plates in the dining hall. The difference in what goes to composting versus the landfill is massive and you’ll save tons of unnecessary waste from landfill.

10. Think Long Term

You should set some short and long term goals for your campus. There’s nothing too ambitious for your sustainability program, so think about pledges to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, carbon neutrality by a certain year, and even fund a certain amount towards research and education efforts each year. When students are made aware of sustainable living practices, they often carry those habits into their life beyond college.

The biggest step is making sure that sustainability is front and center in everyone’s mind. By adopting these ideas, you can help make your college campus more sustainable.


Aimee Laurence, a tutor at UKWritings and Academic Writing Service, writes about sustainability initiatives and how to be more eco-friendly on a large and small scale. She enjoys finding easy ways for people to become greener. Aimee also works in HR as a freelancer for Essayroo.

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