Written by Tenley Haraldson.
If you were ever a struggling student, you’ll remember how a college care package could mean the difference between eating ramen for a week and being able to treat yourself to something small (but satisfying).
While Millennials and Gen Z’ers are more focused on eco-conscious lifestyles than previous generations, extremely limited student budgets make these purchases difficult.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of options that would be perfect for any eco-friendly college care package. No matter if they’re first-years or grad students, your favorite university student will be thrilled and you’ll also be helping to make the world a better place.
For the Kitchen
Cafeteria food is a far cry from healthy and nourishing. Make sure that students are treating their bodies right with these eco-friendly gifts.
While this might not be the most creative of options, think back to the days of scrounging for change in sofas. Being able to treat themselves with something like kombucha (or even manuka honey) will lift a student’s spirits while giving back to the local community. Consider finding the closest local food coop and contacting them for more advice.
From shuffling across campus or popping to the supermarket, most people today understand that reusable bags are one of the quickest, easiest ways to cut back on plastic waste.
This French-style Filt shopping bag is eternally stylish, expandable, and produced using ecologically-sustainable methods. Because it’s extremely lightweight, it’s perfect for a farmer’s market and lasts a lifetime.
Stasher produces 100% food-grade silicone storage bags that withstand microwave, sous-vide, dishwasher, and even oven use – all without leaching nasty chemicals. No matter what kitchen facilities are available, students will be able to meal prep anywhere. One of the best parts? They’ll never have to worry about losing the lids.
To rehydrate after a particularly tough weekend – or to maintain their consumption of direct-trade coffee during study sessions – Yeti Bottles are always a great choice. Lightweight, aluminum-lined bottles can keep liquids hot and ice-cold for a shockingly long time.
Laundry and Clothing
Trends in purchasing show that Gen Y and Z members overwhelmingly prefer well-made clothing with a smaller footprint than trendy, disposable items. The good news is that there are more sustainable clothing brands than ever.
To create their luxurious casualwear, Alternative Apparel utilizes organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles (to produce their polyester), low-impact dyes, and eco-friendly packaging. The company doesn’t stop there: It takes pride in its social initiatives, is WRAP-certified, and adheres to Fair Labor Association guidelines to ensure their workers are treated fairly.
If your college student is heading to internships or job interviews, they need something a bit nicer. Amour Vert is a great eco-friendly clothing brand to consider, with sustainably-sourced fabrics from eucalyptus, certified organic cotton, silk, and even beechwood. Limited production ensures less waste, and their “buy a tee, plant a tree” initiative has replanted 300,000 trees in North America (at the time of publication).
Pair any clothing purchases with Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent, a highly-concentrated, enzyme-based product that consistently lands on best laundry detergent lists (like so many of our other products). Safe for sensitive skin, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic, this is one of the most eco-friendly laundry detergents on the market today.
wool laundry balls are handmade by underprivileged women and differently-abled people in Nepal using 100% New Zealand wool and vegetable soap. Your favorite college student will never have to resort to chemically-laden laundry softener or single-use dryer sheets again.
Eco-Friendly Technology and Studying Tools
From backpacks to notebooks to device chargers, these are excellent gift ideas to improve efficiency in anyone’s day-to-day life.
Though more students are reaching for e-notebooks, many physical learners prefer to use pen and paper. Decomposition notebooks, which come in a variety of unique, beautifully artistic designs, are produced using 100% post-consumer recycled paper and soy ink, meaning more trees and a smaller ecological footprint.
The Solgaard Lifepack has made waves with its unique business model: For every purchase, the company saves 5 pounds of plastic from washing out to sea and uses it to create their textiles. Best of all, the built-in solar bank allows for green-friendly device charging.
Just because it’s electronic doesn’t mean it can’t be environmentally focused! Produced from hemp and recycled plastic water bottles, the Nimble charger is a wireless charger for newer-generation devices. A pre-paid return envelope is included with each Nimble product, allowing students to send their old and/or broken electronics into an e-waste recycler, too.
We know we’re biased, but there’s a reason why Puracy products are so amazing: They’re formulated with real, plant-based ingredients by P.h. D scientists, and tested continuously until we get the perfect results. You’ll never find microbeads, abrasives, sulfates, arabens, or harsh chemicals in any of our products.
Looking for things to put in a college care package? We’ll do that for you with our affordable Puracy Personal Care Set, which contains our Natural Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, and Organic Body Lotion.
Earthlove seasonal box from Cratejoy is a great gift for environmentalists. They include 6-8 full-sized, eco-friendly products in a wide variety of categories (e.g. wellness, apparel, snacks, aromatherapy, gardening) shipped out in zero-waste packaging. It’s an excellent way to support small businesses and environmental non-profits across the country.
How to Make College Rooms Greener
If you live nearby and have a green thumb, why not gift some seedlings and/or cuttings of low-impact plants? Aloe, lavender, spider plants, and succulents require little-to-no knowledge of plants and can survive in just about any environment.
While a “bed-in-a-bag” is what most students reach for, organic cotton sheets are excellent eco-friendly gifts for their low environmental impact, lack of pesticides and fertilizers, and production methods that maintain soil fertility. Plus, they’ll be used for upwards of four years – a good night’s sleep is never a bad investment!
Dorm rooms get grungy – fast! Since student housing provides limited space, it’s important to find products like our eco-friendly Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner that can be used on any non-porous surface. There are zero sulfates, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals, and the formula is biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and tough on messes.
Anything can happen in a dorm room, so keeping our Natural Stain Remover around for fabrics and upholstery will come in handy. Safe on colors, hard on stains, this product utilizes six plant-based enzymes to deep-clean anything from duvet covers to carpets to clothing.