New Year’s (re)Solution

It’s January, people! AKA that month of the year you’ve probably seen that tacky saying “new year, new me” about 17 times daily.

Regardless how cliché the phrase might be, I do appreciate the sentiment behind it. People want to kick old habits and make a fresh start. But do you know who doesn’t get the chance to put a New Year’s resolution to the test? That’s right, I’m talking about this planet we live on: Earth. That’s why, instead of making a promise to myself this year, I dedicated my New Year’s resolution to my leading lady: good ol’ Mother Nature herself.

I’m sure you don’t need another lecture on the state of the environment, so I’m just going give it to you straight: things aren’t looking too great. There were a lot of different angles I considered approaching this resolution from, but I knew my goal was to reduce my carbon footprint.

I am already a vegetarian, which reduces my footprint significantly. I carpool or ride the bus to school which also cuts my emissions. And then I found my most obvious blunder: my coffee addiction.

As a student, I always have coffee or tea on the go, and a lot of the time that means lots of paper cups and plastic lids. Working as a barista as well, it is overwhelming to see how many cups and lids get tossed in the trash. There it was — my resolution: no more paper cups.

Luckily, UVic makes this transition super simple. The campus offers reusable travel mugs for cheap prices at the Bookstore and most cafés. Combine that with the discount you get for using your own mug at any coffee shop on campus, and you’re looking at some pretty sweet savings in the long run — on top of, you know, helping to save the planet. The switch to reusable mugs not only makes sense, it makes cents! (Yes! This New Year’s resolution still incorporates horrendous clichés.)

While I’m on this waste reduction rant, I’d also like to make a quick PSA about waste sorting stations on campus — just one of UVic’s sustainability initiatives. UVic couldn’t make it any simpler to be environmentally conscious when disposing of waste, yet I still see paper cups in the trash – what is this madness?? Here is a quick guide to these magnificent sorting stations (indeed I did get strange looks when snapping a picture of the garbage):

The pictures and clearly written instructions make these bad boys pretty self-explanatory. But if this is the first time you’re seeing these bins, I’ll give you a play-by-play.

Yellow = glass.

Orange = plastic, metal, and paper containers (PLEASE PUT COFFEE CUPS HERE).

Black = the black hole of death destined for a dump 🙁 Don’t do it, people… just don’t do it.

Blue = clean paper.

Green (not pictured, but so very important!) = compost including foot waste, napkins, and teabags!

Using reusable containers or, at the very least, correctly disposing of your waste are two super simple ways of being environmentally conscious. If you’ve already met this challenge and/or are thirsting for more ways to love the earth, consider: avoiding plastic (use reusable bags or opt for paper alternatives), buying local (less emissions involved in transportation), and using less resources (turn out those lights and turn off those taps). With just a few modifications to your daily life, this New Year you can make your resolution part of the solution!

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1 Response

  1. Ali says:

    Love this post, Sarah! =)