By Josh Scott
Reusable drink containers
Water bottles and thermoses, it may seem simple, yet garbages across campus remain filled with Balzac’s, Starbucks and Tims cups. Why spend money and support plastic waste by buying bottled water when our University offers dozens of water refill stations? Worried about lugging a mug around? Boom. Squishy and collapsable mug for you to enjoy from stojo.
On a daily basis, overflowing garbage bins around campus suggest we’re a long way from canteen paradise. Students drink copious amounts of coffee, and most coffee shops will gladly fill reusable mugs—many places popular with students, like Starbucks and The Black Canary within The Silver Snail comic shop, have discounts to those who bring their own.
If you buy a $10 reusable coffee mug and have coffee every day, with the discounts previously mentioned, you’d make the money spent on the mug back in a semester.
Recycle your clothes
According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, the average person produces 37 kilograms of textile waste per year—that’s nearly half the average Canadian’s body weight in clothes. There are a lot of options for clothes you don’t want or don’t fit you, the very last options should always be throwing them out.
You can repurpose them (That old sweater would look killer as a crop-top), repair them yourself, if you’re capable or want to learn from the internet, or simply donate them to someone or some donation who wants them. If you’re looking for a larger selection, Ryerson and Ryerson student groups occasionally host on-campus clothing swap events.
There’s the Toronto Clothing Swap—a “semi-regular clothing swap” that hosts events all over the city, accepts donations, and gives to local charities (you can find them on Facebook @TorontoClothingSwap).
While it’s easier to just toss away old clothes, it’s a whole lot better, cheaper, and more eco-friendly to get something cool in return, make someone else’s life a little brighter, or both.
Shop more online… but be patient!
Online shopping is always becoming more and more convenient for consumers. Convenience and carbon footprint-wise, the rise of e-commerce is largely an eco-friendly development, suggests a 2013 environmental analysis of U.S. online shopping from M.I.T.
Websites emit less CO2 than physical stores, and dedicated parcel carriers typically have a more efficient delivery system than individual stores.
There are websites that are much more eco-friendly with packaging than others, it’s clear to avoid places like Amazon and business with very rapid delivery (You can wait a week for the shirt, you don’t need it tomorrow.)
Eat less meat (and dairy).
For some of us, this one’s tough. On one hand; factors like taste and convenience. On the other: the survival and sustainability of the planet. According to an analysis of data from 40,000 farms in 119 countries, published in the journal Science in 2018, cutting animal products from your diet could reduce your food-related carbon footprint by 73%. If we all did likewise, the following would happen: food land use and associated greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by 76% and 49% respectively. This portion might not be news, but it certainly bears repeating.
Reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products, going cold turkey (pardon the pun) isn’t the only option, a reduction is also a good choice. The researcher who led the study claims that’s the simplest and most effective thing you can do individually to contribute to a more sustainable world. Toronto’s a wonderland of cost-friendly alternative food options. Let’s eat, and feel better about doing it.