A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Living your best (green) life!

This past week has been the University’s sustainability week, a great initiative by Leiden University Green Office (LUGO) to bring attention to consuming consciously, green options in Leiden and the Hague, and sustainable futures. I visited one of the workshops, which was super interesting- check out Daniel’s new blog post to find out more!

I’ve been considering sustainability a lot recently, encouraged by the canalcups Instagram, and thought I’d share 5 tips that I use. I hope you find these ideas helpful, and feel free to comment what you do in the comments below!

1. Travel mug and bottle

Sadly, the university cafes still use paper cups (though there are some recycling facilities available for these), but you can help reduce your waste by bringing your own mug or a travel mug with you. These are great as they can be re-used multiple times, and they weigh very little, so if you keep one in your bag you can always have a paper-free coffee! I find mine great for classes as they often come in larger sizes, so you can have lots of lovely tea for your 9am class.

Image result for reusable coffee cup benefits

So many cute mug choices! You can also buy a plain one and customise with stickers, or a knitted cover. No more ugly (and unsustainable) chain-coffee cups!

Similarly, bringing your own water bottle is a really good idea. LUGO have promoted the installation of water points around the campus, as well as good quality, affordable water bottles, so there’s always nice, cold water available.

2. Bring your own lunch/Tupperware

Bringing your own lunch in re-useable Tupperware is also good, with eating leftovers a good way to reduce food waste. Try switching to Tupperware rather than cling-film or plastic wrap in the fridge, to reduce your single use plastics.

3. Reduce printing

One obvious, though difficult option for students is reducing your paper waste. Think before you print out another scientific paper. Using a reference manager can be a good way to keep all your papers and annotations together without doing lots of printing.

batch books document education

Be honest- do you actually look through all the papers you have? If you decide to get rid of some, don’t forget to recycle!

4. Don’t buy new clothes!

Marketing campaigns encourage a feeling of “needing” the newest fashions, but do you actually need it? Fast fashion uses a lot of water and other resources, and depends on exploitative labour practices.

Image result for fast fashion sustainability

So much water for one t-shirt! Search through the vintage stores, and find something really unique.

As an alternative, Leiden has a really amazing range of second hand and vintage stores, stocking beautiful and unique clothing and jewellery. For me, considering whether I really need an item of clothing has helped to reduce my shopping. This tip is good for your budget too!

5. Seasonal and plastic free food

My final tip is to try buy seasonal produce, and to look for plastic free fruit and veg. The market is great for this, as there’s a lot of dutch produce, and if you bring a re-useable shopping bag you can get a week of vegetables without all the plastic! Reducing your meat consumption can also be good, but remember to replace them with other sources of protein (such as beans or tofu).

Image result for Leiden market

Check out these websites to work out what produce is in season! In season produce is also often cheaper, great for student budgets.

2 comments on “Living your best (green) life!

  1. Daniel Salinas
    February 16, 2019

    Great tips! Something I love about the Netherlands that is really related to sustainability is how widespread the use of bicycles is, having great infrastructure and cycling culture. Moving around in bikes and not cars is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and as a plus you’re also exercising!

    • Sophie Jorgensen-Rideout
      February 18, 2019

      I completely agree! And you get to see the beautiful city as an extra bonus.

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2019 by in Leiden, Nature, Sophie, Student City, Student Life and tagged , , , , .

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