Tips for Living a Sustainable Lifestyle

Temperate rain forest canpoy
Think green

Sustainability in Action at the University of Victoria begins with sustainability leadership and environmental stewardship. Student, faculty, staff and the community can all be sustainability leaders.

See Green life for students (Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation) for even more sustainability tips.

Top 10 tips for everyone

Reduce your environmental footprint at UVic and beyond

  1. Carry your own coffee mug and water bottle (drink tap water).
  2. Turn off the lights when you leave your room, classroom or study space.
  3. Recycle all paper products, bottles, cans, glass and hard plastics.
  4. Challenge yourself to take shorter showers.
  5. Turn off your computer or set it to sleep mode when not in use.
  6. Only do laundry when you have a full load.
  7. Compost all leftover food napkins, coffee cups and compostable cutlery.
  8. Rethink your need to print, and double-side it.
  9. Take only what you need - napkins, paper towel, straws - and prevent needless waste.
  10. Travel by bus and/or bike instead of driving.

Top 20 tips for staff and faculty

Small actions done by a lot of people can have a big impact

Pick a few of these to get started:

  1. Always turn off the lights when you leave your office or meeting room or class room.
  2. Set up a voluntary office compost system in your lunch room.
  3. Save your data to a shared drive so that you can shut down your PC completely at the end fo the day.
  4. Set all printers and copiers to default double-sided mode.
  5. Cycle to work - you'll eliminate greenhouse gas emissions with your daily commute, save money and get in shape!
  6. Order one of the new Kyocera high efficiency multi-purpose machines to consolidate printers, faxes, scanners and copier around your office, and set it to standby mode after 30 minutes of inactivity.
  7. Always carry a reusable coffee mug and water bottle with you.
  8. Next time you upgrade your PC, consider a laptop vs. a traditional desktop (uses about 1/4 the energy to operate).
  9. Recycle your disposable coffee cup (remember to remove the lid and rinse first!).
  10. Connect all your electronic equipment to a power bar that you can shut off when you leave to reduce "phantom load" of electricity.
  11. Purchase a discounted employee monthly bus pass from Campus Security (savings of 55%).
  12. Set your PC and screen to standby mode after 15 minutes of inactivity (uses 90% less energy).
  13. Leave the car at home at least two days per week.
  14. Use task and natural light to eluminate your office instead overhead fluorescents.
  15. Only order 100% post-consumer recycled paper for use in the office (the UVic standard).
  16. Consolidate office supply orders so that vendors make less trips to campus and return your delivery boxes to the supplier for reuse.
  17. Bring your own bag when shopping at the bookstore.
  18. Get a copy of the "Zero Waste Events" brochure before you plan your next event.
  19. Flatten all cardboard and leave in the hallway or copier room for janitorial pick up.
  20. Join the UVic Employee Car Share Co-operative program.

Sustainability tips for attending events

celebrate sustainably poster

Large-scale events such as music festivals and sports events can be mass producers of landfill waste, among having other potential negative environmental impacts. While the idea of having zero waste events  is becomingly increasingly popular, reducing waste at large events requires both the organizers and the attendees to do their part. Here are some things you can do to make the events you attend more sustainable:

  1. Look out for recycling and compost bins and take care to dispose of everything properly.
  2. Bring your own reusable water bottle if the venue permits to cut down the number of plastic bottles being used. It's cheaper too!
  3. Bring your own tupperware and utensils to use at food trucks and food vendors. This may be unconventional, but it works!
  4. If you or your children purchase or recieve balloons, make sure you dispose of them properly. When helium balloons float away, there's no telling where they will end up and which creatures may ingest them. The same goes for leaving popped balloons on the ground!