The good life - for students

uvert 2015

UVic students step up for sustainability.

They create and work in wonderful initiatives to help each other and Earth: a Free Store, food bank, Community Cabbage, move-out dump-and-run, electronic recycling depots, ivy pulls.... The list is huge!

This page has tips for actions we can all take to be good to ourselves, our wallets, and our planet. It was created for students by students like Miranda Maslany, Leat Ahrony, and Holly Cornwell, and many others who contributed ideas and content.

But it's not just for students, and not just for UVic. If you see something that would help someone else, please share the link!

We'll be updating it regularly, adding news about programs, more tips and links, and whatever might be useful to you. Please let us know what other sections might be helpful and share your favourite tips; you can send your ideas and feedback to Rachel at

Thanks for visiting!

Three easiest acts:

1. Bring your own cup

uvic mugs

Did you know...
People at UVic toss 3,000 (yes, you read that right) paper coffee cups every. Single. Day. This is such an easy fix!

2. The slow toss: read the signs on waste bins and drop your napkin and smoothie cup in the compost,
the coffee cup and plastic lid in the orange bin.

compost tote

The dirt on composting:
All food - including meat and bones - can go in UVic's compost bins.UVic's disposable cutlery is compostable!UVic's smoothie cups go in the green compost bins too.

3. Commute by bus, carpool, bike or feet

graffiti bike

Reinventing the wheel:
Every bus in Greater Victoria has bike racks on the front. You can bike to school and bus home! Or bike on the Galloping Goose and bus the rest of the way...

This BC Transit video shows how dead easy it is to get your bike on and off the rack. If you can find your way around Clearihue, you can do this.

University of Victoria Sustainability Project (UVSP) website and Facebook page

These student-driven initiatives run the gamut from Community Cabbage to the Free Store (yes, that's right a free store!).

A sample of on-campus groups:

Campus Community Garden

Ecological Restoration Volunteer Network

Spokes bike program

UVic's Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability has loads of info and connections, and so do the UVic Students Society and UVSP.

Meet your people at UVERT:

uvert students 2015

Twice a year, UVSP hosts the University of Victoria Environmental Round Table (UVERT), where students (and others) from across campus meet to talk about what they're doing, what they want to do, and how they can make it happen.

In this video, award-winning Student Sustainability Champion (2014) Miranda Maslany (Environmental Studies major/Business minor) talks about what UVERT is, what it meant to her, and what it could mean for you.

Watch this space for the next one, or sign up for the bi-weekly UVic sustainability newsletter by emailing to hear about all kinds of great events.

Grad students share some tips in these short videos:

How do you live more sustainably outside your house?

What do you do at home to make sustainable living easier?

What have you told someone about that they then started doing themselves?

And so you know: a lot of the things these ASU students talk about are normal practice @UVic and around Greater Victoria, like our awesome community recycling and composting programs.

Our top picks @home:

Make sure you've got a full load before you run the washing machine or dishwasher


Turn it off:

  • the computer when you finish working
  • the lights when you leave the room
  • the thermostat when you leave the house or go to bed
  • the car when you're not actually moving (except, you know, at traffic lights)


Close doors to keep the heat only in the room you're in


The Capital Regional District has a Green Clean book with dead simple enviro- and wallet-friendly recipes for cleaning supplies like laundry soap, toilet cleaner, and ammonia-free spray cleaner.

Here's the scoop on whether baking soda is really a greener clean, thanks to Grist's Ask Umbra.

The "Clothes and stuff" and "Recycle" tabs have more ideas, too!

photo credit: Tuomas_Lehtinen, Ambro, Stuart Miles,

Buying second-hand clothes, furniture, dishes, and, well, everything, has all these co-benefits:


  • you save money
  • if you buy in a consignment store, you support a local business which keeps twice as much money circulating in your community
  • you keep usable items out of landfill (aka the garbage dump)
  • if you buy in a charity shop (in Greater Victoria, this includes Salvation Army, Women in Need, St. Vincent de Paul, Beacon Community Services, and many others) then your dollars also support important community programs

Get your fix at these repair shops:

Stevenson’s Shoe Clinic

Olde Towne Shoe Repair

Gaudio Shoe Repairs

Arcadia Shoe Repair

Downtown Victoria’s List of Taliors and Shoe Repair Places

photo credit: stockimages,

What goes where in all those different bins on campus and in res?

Blue top: paper

Orange top: hard plastics like coffee lids and salad clamshells; layered paper items like coffee cups and milk cartons; tetrapaks like juice boxes

Green bins: compostables. If it was once alive, it goes here. That includes paper plates, Mystic Market take-out boxes, UVic disposable cutlery and smoothie cups, meat, pizza...

compost tote

Best. Encyclopedia. Ever.

The Capital Regional District's My Recyclopedia has tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling. Also, there are facts about the environmental impact of, and alternatives for, all kinds of stuff.

And if you can't find the answer online, they've got a phone line: 250 360 3030.

Local food and farms

BC Farms and Food has a website, a video, a map to finding local products and restaurants on Vancouver Island. You'll get hungry just looking at the pictures!

Meal Exchange

The registered charity Meal Exchange believes that post-secondary campuses are an ideal leverage point for tackling food security and sustainability in Canada, and that student leaders have the power to drive this change. They provide  students with mentorship and resources, and connect them with their peers and stakeholders across the country. They run several different programs and even hire students! Check out the site for information and opportunities.

The good stuff: UVic Food Services


Fifty per cent of UVic Food Services food is local!

They also serve Beyond Fair Trade coffee, and their recycling and composting programs lead the way for other big organizations across the country. They even recycle cooking oil for biodiesel!

The website has more details about their sustainability initiatives.

UVic Food Services has lots of vegetarian items. There's a complete list of places to eat on their website - check it out for menus and hours of operation too.

Village Greens has vegetarian and vegan choices, hot or cold, main dishes to desserts. It's closed over the summer and will reopen on Sept 7, just in time for classes!

Share Organics for students

In the fall of 2015, the student-run UVic Sustainability Project (UVSP) is launching a pilot project to get great organic produce into student stomachs. They've created a special deal with local distributor Share Organics for $20 food boxes for students.

The deal is:

  • cash only
  • paid in advance to UVSP, who will then place the order with Share Organics
  • deliveries/pick ups on campus on a consistent day and time
  • bring your own tote bag or box

photo credit: rakratchada torsap,