Take Action In Student Housing Apartments

Follow these tips to incorporate sustainability into your everyday routine. Sustainability isn't about doing everything perfectly – it's about finding what works for you!

Reduce and Divert Waste

  • Talk to your property manager about what waste streams are available to you and learn what is accepted in each stream
  • Use reusables instead of single use items:
    • Use a reusable bottle to refill at filtered water refill stations across campus
    • Use a reusable straw, if able
    • Use a reusable bag and avoid the 10 cent single-use bag charge in the city of Davis
    • Use reusable containers to pack snacks, store food, school supplies, etc.
    • Use a reusable cloth over paper towels and napkins
    • Use refillable pens and pencils
  • Reduce packaging waste when grocery shopping. Look for produce without packaging and try shopping at the bulk bin
  • Buy items in recyclable or compostable packaging, whenever possible
  • Take electronic notes or use 100% recycled notebooks with soy ink
  • Print double-sided and use good-on-one side paper
  • Upcycle or repurpose items instead of throwing them away
  • Repair items instead of throwing them away or buying new. Find repair tutorials online!
  • Buy used — Did you know the campus has two second hand stores? Visit Aggie Reuse and Aggie Surplus
  • Unsubscribe from junk mail lists

Be Water Wise

  • Take efficient showers (Take a two-song shower!)
  • Turn off the faucet when not directly using the water (i.e. while brushing your teeth, shaving, lathering hands, or washing dishes)
  • Wash full loads of laundry in cold water
  • Only run the dishwasher when it's full and use the air-dry option on your dishwasher, if available
  • Promptly report leaks to your property manager
  • Wash your car at eco-friendly car wash that uses recycled water, or do it yourself with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle

Save Energy

  • Use the computer centers for your printing needs instead of a personal printer
  • Use Energy Star Rated electronics/appliances that consume less energy
  • Enable power management features on your computer
  • Turn off and unplug your electronics when not in use, and use a smart power strip
  • Turn down the brightness of your computer monitor
  • Stop charging your electronic devices once they are fully charged
  • Take advantage of natural light and open the blinds
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room, and make sure all lights are off when you leave the house
  • Use the desk lamp instead of overhead lighting
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator, if able
  • Hang dry laundry, when available
  • Temperature Control
    • Put on/take off extra layers of clothes instead of using the AC/heating
    • Open a window if the temperature outside is more desirable than the temperature inside and turn off AC/heating at same time
    • On warm days, close blinds to reduce heat gain from sunlight
    • Close all windows and doors while the heater or air conditioning is on
    • The Department of Energy recommends 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter
  • Use your refrigerator and freezer efficiently – the more items you have stored, the easier it is to cool
  • When cooking, use lids on your pots and pans to help trap heat and cook more efficiently
  • When light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs
  • Designate an area for shoe storage at entrance to keep floors cleaner and require less energy for vacuuming

Eat Sustainably

  • Use reusables dishes, glasses, and cutlery instead of single-use paper or plastic
  • Bring reusables and reduce waste of single use items when eating out:
    • Reusable Beverage Containers, Straws, Utensils, Cloth Napkins, Bags
  • Save leftovers for another meal in reusable containers. Pro-tip: consider upcycling glass sauce, jam, olive, etc. jars as storage containers
  • Choose plant forward meals (meals that focus on plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes and can include animal-based ingredients in a smaller proportion)
  • Shop for local and seasonal foods (Did you know the campus hosts a farmers market in fall and spring quarters?)
  • Shop for local and seasonal foods at the Davis Farmers Market in downtown Davis
  • Shop for other sustainably sourced foods, such as:
  • Find free food on campus and in the city of Davis through the Aggie Compass
  • Learn how to storage food to keep it fresh and tasty for as long as possible (https://savethefood.com/storage)
  • Learn how to decipher 'best before' and 'use by' food dates so food doesn't go to waste
  • Grow your own food—Grow food in your windowsill or balcony in containers, or rent a garden plot at the Experimental Community Gardens on campus
  • Learn to cook- take a cooking class from Student Health and Counseling Services

In the Dining Commons:

  • "Try a Taste" of a meal before committing to an entire plate
  • "Just Ask" the server to customize any meal (no bun, half portion, no cheese, extra veggies, etc.) to your liking
  • Look for the sustainable icon on menu signage that identifies foods that are sustainably sourced (local, organic, fair trade, humane, and sustainable seafood)
  • Take one plate at a time. You can always get more if you are still hungry!


  • Learn about your transportation options in the City of Davis and beyond (undergraduate students can ride Unitrans for free with their student ID card)
  • Join the goClub
  • Learn about the bicycle rules of the road and find bicycle resources
  • Carpool with friends instead of driving separately to the same destination to save on gas and lower your carbon footprint

Green Cleaning

  • Clean your space responsibly using cleaning products that are Green Seal certified or Environmental Choice certified
  • Make your own cleaning products using vinegar or baking soda as a base and store in a reusable container
  • Use cloth rags to wipe up spills instead of using paper towels

Get Involved


  • Share these tips with your Community Advisers and peers!
  • Community Advisers — Host a sustainability program for your community (email sustainablehousing@ucdavis.edu for program ideas)


In the City of Davis:

Have more tips? Email them to sustainablehousing@ucdavis.edu.