How do I be sustainable on campus anyways?

You get to campus and grab a cup of coffee from Bibliocafe. It arrives in a paper cup with a plastic lid. You look around at all the tables. Paper cup after paper cup lines each table. Then you notice more. Paper plates and napkins. Plastic containers and utensils and bags. They surround you. 

You shake yourself out of it. It’s fine. Your cup is only one out of many. It won’t make a difference right? You walk to class and sit down. The professor hands out pages upon pages of handouts. Will you read all of them? Maybe? No, let’s be realistic here. Some of those papers will sit in your desk until you throw them out at the end of the semester. 

Your fists clench at the thought of all the paper bins filling up one by one. It’s all too much. You race out of the room and decide to get some comfort food from CAPs. Everything is wrapped in wasteful packaging. You’ve seen it all before. Nothing new. That’s when it hits you. You see the piles and piles of food waste on the trays. Fries and pasta and sandwiches and vegetable trays, piled into one big garbage pile.

You’ve had it. Enough is enough. The waste that the university creates is too big. But you’re only one person. Can you really do anything to change all of this? Of course, you can. If you create a demand for sustainable living then corporations will provide. It’s all about your money vote. Which means investing in eco-friendly options to create more a future demand for them. And maybe you can convince your friends to do it too! But what will you say?

Here are a few easy tips on how to be sustainable on campus:

1. Bring your own containers, travel mugs, and reusable straws. Travel mugs not only save you money when buying coffee but they keep your drinks warmer for longer.

2. Talk to your professors about sending out handouts online instead of using paper. Having your papers online keeps everything neat and in one place.

3. Save your leftovers. Don’t buy a whole new meal the next day when you have leftovers from the night before.

4. Use the recycling bins across campus (they’re everywhere). It’s so easy!

5. Check out the Free Store in the Student Union Building. You can donate the things you don’t want or scope out some sweet deals.

6. Swap and used. Grab your friends or go to a second-hand store to buy things for cheap.

7. Give your old notebooks to a person taking the course after you instead of throwing them out. It’ll save paper and give them a head start on their notes. Maybe someone else will do that for you too.

8. Buy a few nice pens where you can just replace the ink instead of cheap pens that you have to throw out once they’re done. Plus nice pens are just so much smoother to write with.

9. Water bottles are so easy to have with refill stations everywhere. And they don’t have the plastic taste that plastic water bottles have.

10. And lastly, with the convenience of the bus loop right in your reach it’s easy to go anywhere in Vic without needing a car.

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