Tips & Tricks

Student Life

  • Do you really need to carry around all those heavy readers? Before printing it, ask your professor first if the course material is digitally available. If you do have to print, use both sides and pick recycled paper.
  • Take a refillable water bottle with you, such as our Tap it Up bottle, everywhere you go. You save a lot of plastic and money! Did you know that tap water is checked more frequently and strictly than bottled water?
  • Use Ecosia as your standard search engine and plant trees while browsing the web!
  • Reuse old course material, envelopes and other paper as scrap paper. Often, you can find a box with scrap paper at your library.
  • When something to celebrate, choose a present that is a) a consumable such as food or drinks b) a donation or c) an experience, tickets to movies or a concert for example.
  • Are you toddler? If no, refuse the straw in your cocktail at the Fakbar. And bring your cool beer mug to that cantus! For sure, it will taste even better without all the plastic.
  • If you are a "regular" Belgian student = going home in the weekend, make sure to unplug all appliances, turn off the heat and empty your fridge by Friday afternoon.

Energy

  • This is a classic one: always turn off the light when you leave a room. Don't forget about the bathrooms at uni!
  • Use a lid for your pots and pans. It helps reducing cooking time and saves energy.
  • When cooking on an electric stove, turn the heat off a couple of minutes before your dish is done. The cooking plate will remain hot for a while.
  • Are you cold? First try putting on an extra sweater before turning the heating on. Also, make sure to turn off the heating when you go to class.
  • Did you know that using an electric kettle to heat up hot water for cooking is much more energy-intensive then boiling it in a pot?
  • decalcify your coffee maker or kettle with vinegar, to increase its efficiency.
  • make sure to fill your freezer, even if it's only with ice. That way, your freezer can handle temperature fluctuations better.
  • If possible, go for LED lamps to save energy and money.
  • Electric appliances still use power, even when turned off. Make sure to unplug!
  • Cook together with your room or kot mates (and let them help you with cleaning the dishes afterwards).
  • More time for fun than washing dishes if you cook a one pot meal. Look here for inspiration.

Food

  • Follow the GO Ecolicious Facebook page to learn all about eco-friendly cooking, food waste and sustainable diets.
  • Eat vegetables of the season: they taste better, can be locally sourced and are cheaper. You can check the season calendar of Velt, or just order the Veggie Bag!
  • When shopping in the fridge section of the supermarket, you don't need to take a plastic bag. Vegetables are already wrapped, it's called the skin!
  • Avoid buying products containing palm oil. The production of palm oil is known to cause deforestation and biodiversity loss, and is linked to animal cruelty and labour abuses.
  • No space in the fridge for all the food you just bought? Many vegetables can be stored at room temperature, such as potatoes, tomatoes and most varieties of squash. Most fruits do not belong in the fridge either. Instead, you can put them in a bowl on the table, so you won't forget to have some fruit regularly.
  • A vegetarian (or vegan) diet is great for our planet. Did you know that one steak equals one month of showering? Switching to a diet without meat or fish is one of the easiest ways to have an immense impact.
  • If you can't live without meat, replace beef with chicken. That way you'll also help the environment a little bit!
  • We're fan of Too Good To Go: download the app and pick up delicious food left-overs for a sweet deal.
  • Go for fairtrade and slave free when it comes to coffee, chocolate, tea, bananas and other imported foods.

Waste

  • Reducing your waste is easier with tips from our Zero Waste students! Follow them on their Facebook page.
  • Take a reusable bag for shopping with you wherever you go. Just keep one in your (hand)bag at all times. In fact, Bring Your Own... Anything! Cutlery, reusable coffee cup, water bottle...
  • Content is a grocery store in Leuven where you can shop package free.
  • Something is broken? Don't throw it away immediately, but give it a second life. At the repair hub, you can learn how to fix or upcycle your stuff! Also check the Facebook page for the latest info.
  • Use the pink garbage bag to recycle soft plastic. It's much cheaper than the brown bag, and your plastic can be recycled into plastic compost boxes or street benches. Not sure what goes in the pink bag? Check it here.
  • Follow the 90/90 rule for stuff you own: Is this something I have used in the past 90 days? If no, will I use it in the next 90 days? If both times the answer is no, get rid of it by selling, donating, swapping or recycling it.
  • We all know what happens when you order a sushi boat with your friends. Ask for a doggy bag or put left-overs in your own container and enjoy for lunch the next day!

Transport

  • Rent your student bicycle at Velo.
  • Oops, your bike is broken? Take it to the Fietsatelier, where a technician will help you repair your bike. You don’t pay anything, except for the necessary replacement parts.
  • If you do use a car because there are no other options, you can carpool or even carshare.
  • Need something bigger to transport stuff? Rent the Green Office cargo e-bike for free.
  • When travelling, choose the train or bus instead of a plane, the environment will thank you! Under 26 years, you can travel for a relatively cheap price in Belgium and beyond with the train. Check the travel guide on Zomer zonder vliegen for more tips.
  • If you do take a plane, you can offset your CO2: take a look at Carbon Alt Delete.

Clothing

  • Thrift shopping is so hot right now! In Leuven center you can thrift shop at five different second hand shops. In other student towns as well, you find at least one thrift store.
  • If you still want new clothes, there is a variety of sustainable brands available in online and offline shops! Check a list of ethical, sustainable brands on Fairwear foundation
  • During November 2018, you can donate a sweater or other winter clothing at the Green Office or Agora. The clothing goes to people in need and will be distributed through the organisations of Poverello, 't Lampeke and CAW.
  • Watch documentaries such as the True Cost and Riverblue to learn about the social and environmental consequences of our love for fast fashion.
  • Only wash your clothes when necessary or dirty (and with your homemade detergent!). For example, it is recommended that you wash jeans only once every 14 days. Did you know that washing synthetic fibres releases a lot of microplastics?
  • Afterwards, dry your clothing on a rack or on a line, a tumble dryer is very carbon-intensive.
  • There are plenty of other ways to give your clothing a second life. Check below or have a look at the handy flowchart we made!

    Mindful Lifestyle

  • Mindfulness practice can change our way of looking at the world. When you are aware of the here and now, the need for sustainability comes to our attention naturally. Through mindfulness, compassion for other people, animals and nature is fostered.
  • Take care of your own mind and body first. Eating well, exercizing regularly and relaxing from time to time are of vital importance.
  • If you have questions about your well-being or want to support fellow students, you can check out the MindMates project.

Contact

Question? Idea?
Let us know!

Zwartzustersklooster
Zwartzustersstraat 2,
3000 Leuven
Belgium

Opening hours
Mon 15 - 17.30
Tue 9 -12
Wed 15 - 18
Thu & Fri only by appointment
Closed on Saturday, Sunday and on Holidays
Closed during study and exam periods