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37 Eco Friendly Ideas for College Students

Kitchen and Cooking Equipment

Students will be cooking for themselves for the first time, and there are lots of ethical cooking equipment and items you can get. Cooking from scratch is always ethically better than buying lots of pre packaged ready meals and it’s better for your health too. Here are some ideas:

Microwave cookbook.- Cooking in the microwave is one of the most economically efficient ways of cooking, it’s quick, easy and can be healthy so a microwave cookbook will help steer them in the right direction.

Paperless towels – help them save money and replace kitchen towel with reusable towels which can be thrown in the wash.

Reusable bowl covers – These will fit over bowls so he or she can easily and quickly cover up left overs and put them in the fridge for later. Save throwing away left over food and will mean less cooking.

Vegan Cookbook – one of the best things you can do for the environment is to eat less meat and animal products. So a vegan or vegetarian cookbook can make a fab ethical gift.

Cosmetics and Bathroom Items

Male or female, students need personal care items and generally would like personal items too.
Some ideas include:

A safety razor (fab for men and women – prevents them from buying lots of disposable plastic razors)

Shaving soap

Solid shampoo, conditioner and deodorant (Ethique make some fab solid beauty bars).

Magic face cloths -fantastic for wiping off make up and only water needed. These are amazing, they really do wipe away traces of make up and will reduce the need for buying eye make up remover in plastic bottles. Therefore it will save money and be great for the environment too.

Bamboo toothbrush set

Items for the Dorm Room

Mexican Blanket – a blanket is a fab way to keep warm without having to keep putting the heating on. They can keep students warm and comfortable too. It can also be used as a throw or a picnic blanket or for activities such as yoga.

A foldable drying rack: this can be fab for air drying clothes. It’s environmentally friendly. It will also save money. Gentle drying of clothes makes them last longer too. It will fold flat for storage so could be stored under a bed.

Plants: look good and make a dorm room feel homely without being harmful to the environment.

Bed shelfie: this bedside shelf is a space saving and made of bamboo. Eco-friendly bamboo grow much faster than other woods so it’s an incredible renewable source. the bed shelfie is fantastic for holding your laptop or a cup or whatever you want to put on it.

Bamboo lap desk: a lot this is very useful for students. it means I can sit anywhere just put the lapdesk on their lap and easily use their laptop. It’s great for using when sitting on your bed or sitting on the couch.

Solar Speaker, Portable Wireless Bluetooth Bamboo Speaker & Phone Charger:

If the student you know likes to listent to music, a portable speaker is a great gift. The Reveal speaker featured is made of bamboo wood. The speakers are solar powered. !When no sun is available, the 15 hour battery life keeps you going all night. But there is also a cable that you can use to charge the speakers too. The speaker doubles as a portable charger for your mobile devices. Your phone, tablet, MP3 player or laptop computer can be charged while enjoying your music.It’s simple to set up and use. Just pair with your device via bluetooth and you can move about freely with a bluetooth range of 33 feet. You can also answer calls on the speaker. A great addition to have in your dorm room.


There are lots of fab books that make great gifts for college students. If they haven’t already got them, you can get a kindle so they can get electronic versions of the book rather than paper copies. There are some great books on leading a more environmentally friendly life and learning new skills. Here are some fab ideas of books for gifts:

140+ Cleaning Hacks and Decluttering Tips: College students will be cleaning their own dorms and homes. This book has lots of great for environmentally friendly cleaning using safe, nontoxic items and even foods which can help save money and time.

Hand Mending Made Easy –Hand mending your own clothes is a great skill to have to save money and help the environment. This book gives 12 lessons for hand mending from the very basics such as threading a needle, sewing on buttons to repairing seams and fixing seams and buttonholes, ironing techniques and repairing broken zippers, No sewing machine required.

The Useful Book – this is a really useful all rounder for any college student. It tells you 201 life skills they used to teach in home ed. It covers home maintenance, cooking skills, mending clothes and cleaning tips.


Another low impact way of enjoying books are audiobooks. Amazon do gift memberships for audible. There are various options to choose from with memberships ranging from 1 month to 12 months. Each membership allows you to listen to one book per month. You can keep the book you choose each month forever.

The Naked Roomate: And 107 other issues you might run into at college

A hilarious but informative book which tells stories from other students and gives everything you need to know about the college experience. It includes advice on college living (dorm rooms and roommates), getting the best out of classes, friends, dating , parties and money. It’s fun to read, packed full with advice, tips and information.

Study Supplies

Of course, students are at college to study so they will always find more study supplies and equipment useful. There are lots of ethical options  you can buy. The best rules to follow are to avoid plastic, look for items that will last and not break (these can be passed on after college has finished),and find recyclable or compostible options.

Here are some ideas:

A recycled backpack – a backpack made from material from recycled water bottles. It is a good option for carrying equipment to college and has a laptop sleeve.

Refillable fountain pen – a fountain pen with a reusable ink cartridge makes the perfect classic gift and will make sure they will never have to buy any more disposable pens.

Pencil highlighters – avoid the plastic pen highlighters with pencil highlighters which will last and last and have no plastic to dispose of when finished.

Recycled notebook: The cover and pages of the notebook featured are made out of recycled material. It features an expandable open pocket to keep pieces of loose paper. If pink is not your thing, there are many other colors to choose from.


Rocket Book Smart Reuseable Notebook:  if you know a student who’s keen to go paper free, the rocket book notebook is for them. It allows you to make notes, draw, doodle, write a to do list – whatever it may be. You use the friction pens to write on the pad and it feels like writing with a pen and paper. When you’ve finished, you can upload your work to the cloud services of your choice (google drive, dropbox etc). And erase what you’ve written to use the notebook all over again.

Recycled folders

Sprout pencils: these are pencils which turn into plants at the end of their life.

A Bamboo stapler

On the Go (Out and About)

Students can save lots of money and help the environment by thinking about equipment gadgets and items I can type with them when they’re on the go. Here are some ideas:

A mini sling bag :  A mini sling bag is fantastic to carry essentials wherever you go. Wear it as a cross body or a belt bag. The mini sling is made of recycled materials – the fabrics are made with 100% recycled plastic bottles, keeping them out of landfill. The fabric is water resistant and wipe clean. There are 2 easy to reach front zip pockets, pen slips, a phone slip, a D-ring for your keys, & a large hidden zip pocket on the back for your valuables. Finally, there are unique designs and colors to choose from.

An Eco lunch box: lunch box is made of stainless steel which is fantastic Four packing a lunch. It’s easy to clean and can be put in a dishwasher. It should last a long time so you won’t have to keep buying plastic containers for your food.

A reusable water bottle: this is a great water bottle. it will keep your drink either hot or cold for hours.

Reusable snack bags: these are great for taking snacks on the go.

Waxed canvas lunch bag: an alternative to a stainless steel lunch box is a canvas lunch bag which is biodegradable and vegan friendly

A canvas tote bag: these are super useful for carrying groceries, taking stuff to the beach or even carrying college equipment when needed. There are some fun bags with slogans too.

Other ideas

There are lots of other ethical and eco-friendly gift ideas for students.

Experiences: there are tons of experience events and days you can buy for a college student. What they will like you very much depends on their personality, hobbies, likes and dislikes. So the experience is could range from a spa day to bungee jump to go karting.

Take them out for a meal: students generally don’t have as much money. So as a gift I’m I really really appreciate the finer things in life. Take them out a really nice restaurant. Or give them a voucher so they can take somebody they would like to eat with.

Money: it’s a bit boring but a lot of students will really appreciate some hard cash.

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