A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).