Published: June 16, 2021 By

Incoming Freshman? Returning student? Either way, there is a lot of waste that can accumulate when moving in. Consider some of these zero waste tips and hacks on staying sustainable during the rushed process.


  • Thrift any furniture you need! Since there are many students that have been moving out all summer, there will be lots of gently used furniture that they only used for their time in college housing!

  • Less is more, you do not need new things to make your room homey, upcycle stuff you already have with a new varnish or a new color of paint!

  • Check out some places in Boulder to thrift and donate here.

  • Here are some items you should try your absolute best to thrift, as we see copious amounts of these disposed of during move out, most of which are brand new!:

    • Rugs!

    • Desk chairs, lamps, and school supplies

    • Lots of various kitchen gadgets: toaster ovens, keurigs, etc.

    • Mirrors 

    • Fans and so much more! Check out local thrift stores to see what you can find!

  • If you are an incoming freshman, make sure to check out what to bring and what not to bring with you when moving into the dorms. Then take some time to go through the lists and see what you could thrift!

Sustainable Purchasing Habits to Remember:

Sustainable Purchasing Habits to Remember:

  • Buy durable items you will bring with you throughout the years.

  • Take advantage of websites like Facebook Marketplace, because you can typically find extremely cheap items, sometimes even free furniture and then take some time to upcycle it and make it match your aesthetic!

  • Another benefit to buying second-hand items is that you do not have the accompanied unnecessary plastic and styrofoam that is meant to keep it intact whilst shipping. Usually with large furniture items when bought new, it comes with a TON of plastic that always ends up in the landfill. 

  • Bring only what you need, and wait to buy the big things! Especially when moving to another state.

Sustainable Recycling Habits to Remember:

  • On campus vs. off campus

    • For those students who are moving on campus, there will be designated places to drop off recycling, such as styrofoam in your dorms and outside. Make sure to find these areas to properly dispose of your materials.

    • For those students moving off campus, you will need to bring your hard to dispose of items to places like CHaRM, for more information check out this link!

  • Find the recycling/composting bins when you move in somewhere new! 

  • Break down your boxes!

  • Before resorting to cardboard boxes to store stuff, fill up bags, suitcases, laundry baskets, and other containers you want to bring with you anyway with your stuff!

  • But if you are shipping boxes, fold them down and store them underneath your bed to reuse again during move out! 

  • When moving clothes, keep clothes on hangers and place a trash bag around them to reuse at a later day!

Get Involved:

  • Apply to work at the ecenter! Check out Ecenter jobs here!

  • Apply to be an ecorep! To learn more about sustainability and what it means to be an ecorep, check out this page!

  • Join sustainability clubs, check out some here!

  • Eco-cycle (equivalent to ecoreps)