Student Life

Students working in community garden

Every change you make, no matter how large or small, has an impact on our environment. Here are some small steps that can have a big effect.



  • Walk, bike or take a bus instead of driving.
  • Set your printer to double-sided default to save paper.
  • Look into sharing a printer with your housemates to reduce energy usage.
  • Use power strips and shut them off at night.


  • Use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of paper towels.
  • Buy products with minimal packaging.
  • Avoid disposable kitchen items like plastic utensils and paper plates.
  • Carry an insulated mug for coffee to-go.
  • Use single stream recycling bins.
  • Know the difference between waste, recyclable, and compostable materials and dispose of them in the appropriate bins.


  • Talk to friends and family about your sustainability efforts.
  • Take a class that focuses on sustainability themes.
  • Borrow items that you only use occasionally.
  • Give away things you no longer need, instead of throwing them away.


  • Shop at local businesses.
  • Eat in season and buy produce from local farmers.
  • Cut down on food waste by sharing food and eating leftovers.
  • Grow a garden.
  • Consider going meatless on Mondays.
  • Buy foods in bulk to cut down on packaging waste.


  • Carry a reusable water bottle and use the many refill stations on campus.
  • Always fill the dishwasher “to the brim” before running.
  • Shorten your shower and turn the water off while you brush your teeth.
  • Wash laundry loads in cold water. Most HE detergents clean just as well in cold.
  • Don’t flush extra medications. Google safe ways to dispose of medications.

To have more impact on the U-M Community, become a Planet Blue Ambassador.

Go to:  Energy - Waste - Community - Food - Water