Back to School: Eco-Friendly Dorm and Apartment Staples

As the end of summer draws near, you’re probably super excited to move in to your dorm or apartment for the new  year. Whether you’re a freshman or an upperclassman, there’s no better time to go green and no better way to do it than through your dorm room. Here are some eco-friendly options that you can get before September and will last until you graduate:


The best way to go green with bedding is to go organic. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to buy the XL twin sheets featured in whatever pamphlet your school sent you this summer. (This is something I wish I had known my freshman year.) Instead, you should look for pillowcases, comforters, etc. that are made of organic cotton or, even better, organic hemp. You’ll be using this bedding for at least two years, so if you’re worried about the added price of buying organic, just think about it as an investment.

Luckily, there are a ton of home goods stores that offer organic cotton bedding options.

Organic hemp is a bit more difficult to find, but with a little help from the internet, you’ll be having some sweet and eco-friendly dreams before you know it!



  • Rawganique Although you might not think that hemp can make soft enough bedding, Rawganique promises that their bedding is “similar in feel to the very best French and Irish linens of yore.” Their sheets are made from select organically grown European hemp yarns and manufactured in a sweatshop-free environment in Europe. They also add that no heavy metals or harsh chemicals whatsoever are used in production. This bedding is a bit pricier than your average set, but the money is well spent knowing that you’re not just do good for the environment but for the people who live in it.


Halogen torchiere lamps are a great way to add extra lighting to your dorm room. (Just make sure to check with your housing guide that floor lamps are allowed!) Not only are they super cheap, but they light up an entire room while fitting easily into a corner. By putting in compact fluorescents or even better, LED, lightbulbs, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck and have the greatest impact on the environment.

Mini Fridges

When it comes to mini fridges, you want to go as energy efficient as possible. Mini fridges are less energy efficient than normal size refrigerators by nature, but there are some features in your mini fridge that can still make a difference. The main quality you want to look for are compressor coolers (instead of inefficient thermoelectric coolers) because the bulk of the energy is used, not surprisingly, for cooling. Although you’ll probably have to check the specifications when you’re in a store, here are a few refrigerators to look for:

  • Danby DAR 195 BL- $109.97: Although this fridge doesn’t contain a freezer section, if you ask any college student who’s had a mini fridge (including me), you’ll learn that they don’t work anyway so you’re not missing out by not having one.
  • Danby DAR440- $283.01: Like the smaller version, this Danby fridge is also energy efficient. It’s Energy Star rated, although you obviously will be using more energy simply because of its larger size. However, if you feel like you definitely need a larger mini fridge (check your school’s website to make sure it’s still regulation size), this is a great eco-friendly option.

    Danby DAR195BL Mini Fridge

  • Frigidaire 3.1 Refrigerator $179.99: This mini fridge does have a separate freezer compartment if you’re really determined to have one. Like the two Danby fridges, this Frigidaire product is Energy Star certified as well.

Anti-Vampire Devices

Put the garlic away. The only vampire you need to worry about is the one sucking all the  standby power that occurs when you leave a device plugged in but turned off. Sure, we all try our hardest to remember to unplug everything before we leave a room, but we’re human. We’re in a rush, we forget, or, as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we’re just lazy. These devices, however, take care of all those problems with just a flip of a switch.

  • Belkin Conserve Switch Energy-Saving Surge Protector with Remote- $34.23: With so many different electronics, you’re probably going to need a surge protector to keep all of your cords straight. This is the ultimate eco-friendly one and will definitely save tons of electricity. The included wireless remote makes it easy to shut off power, including standby power, to up to six devices at once. Additionally, two Always-On outlets stay on for devices that need continuous power, like your router.
  • Belkin Conserve Switch Energy-Saving Surge Protector with Remote

  • Belkin Conserve Power Switch- $6.99: If you already have a perfectly good surge protector, this wall outlet attachment is a cheap and effective way to save energy with multiple devices. The best part is that, as with the surge protector, you don’t need to unplug any cords, which means the precious area of your dorm floor will stay clean.
  • Belkin Conserve Socket- $9.99: This device is similar to the previous one, the only difference is that it also has a timer feature. It automatically shuts off power after the time interval you select, 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours, as well as an automatic shut-off feature.

No matter how you decorate your dorm room, if you fill it with these eco-friendly items, it’ll definitely be green!

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