Shelby Law: Sustainable Human of Guelph

Shelby Law is another sustainable human of Guelph that we interviewed. She is a former Eco-rep peer helper and summer student at the sustainability office, so she has dedicated lots of time to sustainability at Guelph! Here are her answers to our questions.

What is your sustainability pet peeve (single use disposables, ineffective legislation, food waste etc)?
My sustainability pet peeve are the inconsistent waste management programs across the province. What is considered a recyclable or organic in one municipality is considered “garbage” in another. This leads to confusion for even well meaning people. On top of this is how little onus is put on businesses, which can have more of an impact than individuals.
What is your first memory of caring about sustainability?
I cared about sustainability long before I really knew what sustainability was. My first memory goes back to my pet peeve – as a child I always sorted our waste and educating my family on what goes where. I was probably the only kid who got excited when their town started curbside composting.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability means living within – or preferably below – the means of what the earth can provide.
What inspired you to be a sustainable human?
What inspires me to be a sustainable human is seeing the degradation of our planet first-hand and through stories told by people all over the world.
What do you hope to do by being more sustainable?
I hope that actions I take make others aware of the issues surrounding our way of life, and that there are solutions to these issues.

 

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Megan Timmins: Sustainable Human of Guelph

Maja Menegotto : Sustainable Human of Guelph

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Meet Maja, she is a super passionate Sustainable Human of Guelph! She is using the power of visual communications and story telling to show her sustainable lifestyle through her Instagram @love.sustainability! She is using the Instagram platform to motivate herself to live a more sustainable lifestyle through documenting sustainable choices. This inspiring Sustainable Human of Guelph is working to share her experience, while engaging with other sustainable humans through Instagram. We recommend giving her a follow on Instagram or perhaps following her lead and making an Instagram to document your passions!

 

We had the pleasure of interviewing Maja and these were her responses to our Sustainable Human of Guelph questions!

 

What is your Sustainability Pet Peeve?

         “Personally, my sustainability pet peeve is when convenience is prioritized over sustainability. Take plastic water bottles for instance, this was the first thing I completely cut out of my lifestyle when I initially began to make a conscious effort to lead a more sustainable life, and it was truly the easiest thing. When I ask people why they continuously use disposable bottles, I receive answers like it’s convenient, and easy to keep cold. For me, I would rather save money by using reusable items, and not have to worry about remembering to put water in the fridge when I fill my bottle up with cold water.”

What is your first memory of caring about sustainability?

        “All my life I have grown up in a very environmentally conscious family. The first memory that comes to mind is helping my grandma with her vegetable garden as a child. I can remember her telling me the benefits of composting, and why it is important to grow your own food when you can. Hearing stories about the differences in the food economy from when she was young compared to now always made me want to be more educated regarding sustainability.”

What does sustainability mean to you?

    “Sustainability to me means leading a lifestyle, and using natural resources in a way that is not harming the Earth or depleting it of its resources. I believe that making more of a conscious effort to recognize the direct impacts of my decisions socially, economically and environmentally is key to being more sustainable.”

 What inspired you to start your Instagram page @love.sustainability?

“What inspired me to start this Instagram page was my strong desire to live a more sustainable life, but I really lacked the motivation and knowledge to do it on my own. I believe that the best way to learn new things is by bouncing ideas off of other people. So I figured that an Instagram account would be a great way to engage with other members of our community and gain some new insight, as well as share my own experiences with living more sustainable.”

What do you hope to achieve with your Instagram?

“What I hope to achieve with my Instagram is to become more educated, and share knowledge about sustainable lifestyles. I’m looking to improve the way I myself lead my life, and if I can share my experiences with people who are interested in the same things along the way, it will make this journey that much more valuable.”

 

If you know a Sustainable Human of Guelph like Maja, send us an email to sustainability@uoguelph.ca with a bio about them to have a chance to get them featured!

 

Kyra Marie: Sustainable Human of Guelph

Kyra Marie is the founder of Support Local Guelph on Instagram. We were lucky enough to interview her about her experience with sustainability and her goals regarding her Instagram. These are the questions we asked, and her responses!

 

What is your sustainability pet peeve (single use disposables, ineffective legislation, food waste etc)?

“Probably my biggest sustainability pet peeve is when people don’t make any effort to try and be a little more sustainable. I am not perfect by any means, but I try to incorporate into my daily habits small changes that can make a big difference like stainless steel straws.”

 

What is your first memory of caring about sustainability? 

“My earliest memory of caring for sustainability was probably when I was in elementary school and my class was growing our own green beans. We took such good care of them like they were our little babies.”

 

What does sustainability mean to you? 

“Sustainability means to me just trying our best to take care of the planet we call home. I believe it is important to be mindful in making decisions that will be more environmentally friendly, whether they be large or small.”

 

What inspired you to make your Instagram?

“What inspired me to start Support Local Guelph was my love for shopping locally. Buying from small and local businesses, your helping someone in your community help make their dream a reality. I always loved shopping local, but didn’t know much about what we had in Guelph.  After starting this Instagram, I realized that there is more of a variety than I thought. So by advertising the different businesses we have in Guelph and surrounding areas I thought it would help others to show them what is available to us in our community and communities close to us.”

 

What do you hope to achieve with this Instagram? 

“What I hope to achieve with Support Local Guelph is more awareness what is in our community and the ones around us. If you can buy it locally, then why not help your neighbour.”

Follow her on instagram here!

 

Sustainability Groups on Campus

The University of Guelph has so many clubs, it can be hard to find the right one for you. We’ve made a list to narrow down the clubs that promote sustainability in different ways.

Just click on the club name to learn more!

Botany Club 

Enactus Guelph

Engineers for a Sustainable World 

Engineers without Borders

Environmental Governance Society

Environmental Sciences Student Executive 

Geography Student Association

Guelph Student for Environmental Change 

Meal Exchange 

Move out Madness 

Outdoors Club 

Oxfam @ Guelph 

Parks Education and Adventure club 

Project SOY 

Society for Ecological Restoration 

Wildlife Club

Universities Fighting World Hunger 

University of Guelph Horticulture Club 

Zoo, Exotic and Wildlife Club 

Are you in a sustainability club that didn’t make the list? Shoot us an email and we’ll add it in!

Taking Out the Trash- Kitchen Addition

So a couple weeks ago we talked about some ways you can cut down on your waste while on the go. This next installment tackles one of the largest sources of household waste, our food – how we get it, store it, use it, and get rid of it.

We’ll start at the first step, in the grocery store

1) Reusable bags

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Image from Bag the Habit

For many of us this might go without saying, but it’s a good first step for a lot of people looking to cut down on their plastic waste. Reusable shopping bags for your groceries are a must, but the most important thing it to be prepared. I’m trying to always have a super light weight bag (like this) stashed in the bottom of my purse or bag just in case I happen to grab something while I’m running around.

Even the best of us are sometimes guilty of grabbing a plastic produce bag or two though, especially for more fragile produce like leafy greens. Just as important as carry-out bags are reusable produce bags like these, which can also be used for bulk items and to store produce at home.

2) Choose Wisely

Most modern grocery stores are not designed to limit waste. Nothing makes me crazier than seeing something that’s not even overly delicate, like a lime or an orange, sitting on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in 17 layers of plastic wrap. It can be hard in some stores, but choosing fresh produce and putting it in your reusable mesh bag will go far in reducing your waste footprint. Sometimes these choices mean an extra step for you- i.e. washing your spinach instead of buying it pre-cleaned in the plastic bins, or chopping up big carrots instead of buying baby carrots in a bag. These little actions have a big impact, however, and it’s also a good incentive to cut out over-packaged processed foods and eat a little healthier!

Shelf in the supermarket
Image from Gippsland Unwrapped

And at the end of day reducing your waste is about process, not perfection. Choose ingredients that come in metal or glass containers, because these can be recycled many, many more times than plastic (and in the case of glass jars can even be reused for bulk containers!).

3) Bulk up

Most bulk stores (including Bulk Barn!!!) allow you to bring your own (clean) bags, containers, and jars for your bulk goodies! This is a great way to get all your staples, from pasta and dried beans, to honey and tea, to spices and soup mix without the wasteful packaging they usually come in at conventional grocery stores.

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Image from Mother Nature Network

And the waste reduction doesn’t have to stop at the store, there are lots of ways to cut down on your kitchen waste once you get home too!

4) Learn how to store your produce without plastic

If you aren’t putting your produce in bags at the store you’ll have to learn some techniques for keeping it crisp once you get it home. This post  from My Plastic Free Life breaks down exactly how to store every conceivable fruit and vegetable for freshness sans plastic waste.

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Image from Meghan Telpner

And as was mentioned in our last post, Tupperware, glass jars, or reusable beeswax wrap are great alternatives to plastic wrap or bags for your leftovers! Although a little on the pricier side, reusable silicone bags like these are also a great alternative, and can easily replace every conceivable use for my personal zero-waste kryptonite- freezer bags.

5) Replace your paper

Though paper towel is compostable in Guelph, it’s still unnecessary. You can save yourself some money and reduce the waste incurred in the production process by swapping it our for towels and rags. Good quality tea towels and microfiber clothes are neither expansive nor hard to come by, but if you want to be even greener just try cutting up some old t-shirts or towels to make the perfect rags for kitchen mishaps.

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Image from Mary’s Kitchen

The same theory goes for reusable fabric napkins! These are surprisingly easy to find at garage sales, clearance bins of home goods stores, and are even a pretty easy DIY. Just keep a laundry bin at hand and wash them when they pile up!

6) And last but not least, COMPOST!

Most landfills are too tightly compacted for biodegradable waste like kitchen scraps to break down. These carrots, for example, were sitting in a landfill for 10 YEARS

Landfill-Carrots
Image from Kirkland Conserves

Use your city of Guelph compost bin (sorting guide here), or see this page  for tips on how to start composting at home. In residence? Drop Natalie a line at compost@pr.uoguelph.ca and we’ll see if we can get you set up with your very own bin!

Thanks for following along with this series Gryphons! Remember to comment on this post or on any of our social media shares to get entered in our giveaway! We’ve already gotten so many great tips! Here are some of our favorite ways that our readers are being sustainable

paigey.oneill  I am using a reusable mug with the B-Corp Cupanion! This way I can keep track of how much waste I am saving while still enjoying my morning ☕️!

maddychauvin I use reusable mesh bags for my produce at the grocery store, and always bring my own bags for everything else! 😊 love this idea by the way!!

samjanjac Reusable food wrap from @mindyourbees !!! No more Saran Wrap!! 🐝

baileyelan I use reusable dryer balls rather than dryer sheets and use mason jars for everything!

kelseyrean Shop with mason jars at bulk barn + started purchasing makeup from @elatecosmetics (their products come in reusable bamboo kits/containers) ✨

shaelynnsmit I’ve been using the diva cup for 4 years and it’s been great not having to buy tampons and it creates zero waste!!! Mother Earth would be proud 🌲

on.my.way.to.0.waste I’ve been buying my dry foods in bulk and package free by bringing my own jars and reusable bags when I go shopping!

kaelykraeft bringing mason jars for bulk food, asking for no straw and bringing my own bottles for water!

claireehlert I bring a reusable mug/bottle whenever I go out so I don’t have to get a single use cup from a cafe if I’m in a rush!

tennyjrinhI always bring a mug/water bottle with me, and use reusable bags when I go grocery shopping! I’ve stopped taking the flimsy plastic bags to put my produce in at the grocery store as well 😊🌎❤️

tennyjrinhI also am making an effort to just buy second hand/vintage clothing so I am not contributing to clothing waste 👍🏼

loco_pacha_mammaI use a bamboo toothbrush and homemade toothpaste in a glass jar to brush my teeth 👍🏻😁

glenysrobinsonnn I make my own deodorant from coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda and essential oils and keep it in a mason jar! I use handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex and just toss them in the laundry. I always have reusable cutlery and straws in my backpack, so I never have to worry about forgetting! 🥄🍃

glenysrobinsonnn Oh! In the summer I make homemade popsicles instead of buying individually wrapped ones! So fun! 🍭💫

zerowasteguelph I use a charcoal stick in a big vintage glass water jug in the fridge to filter my water, no more plastic from Brita filters and certainly no plastic water bottles! 💦💦💦

Taking Out the Trash- Lunchbox Addition

I consider myself to be pretty environmentally conscious- I lug my mug, I shop and eat local, I use re-useable containers in my lunch (and, well, I work in the sustainability office, so…)

My roommates live pretty much along the same lines, and still, week after week, we manage to fill up our garbage can with unrecyclable plastics and packaging. This year I want to take a deeper look at where all this garbage is coming from, and find new ways to get a little closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. Through a series of four blog posts I want to share some budget-friendly, student-friendly tips to reduce waste (particularly plastic) in our lunches, kitchens, bathrooms, closets, and lifestyles in general.

So with no further ado, here are some ways I’ve been trying to take the trash out of my lunch, thanks for following along!

1) Meal Preppin’

Even if I go into the week with the best of intentions, busy evenings and 8:30 classes catch up quick and I find myself grabbing food to go on campus. The I Am Reusable program, available at most hospitality outlets on campus, is a great option. For just an initial, one-time $5 investment, you can get a reusable takeout container for your food. Then, when you bring it back (they wash it for you), you get a card that you just have to exchange for a new container the next time you get takeout food!

Even so, breakfast sandwiches to go are a bad habit of mine, and the wax paper they’re served in cannot be composted or recycled. The best way I’ve found to avoid this all together is to plan ahead. I take a little time on my weekend when I go grocery shopping and plan out my meals for the week. To-go breakfasts like overnight oats and make-ahead breakfast sandwiches are easy to whip up on Sunday night, and are saving me both money and trash on my morning Tim’s run.

As an added bonus, planning out what I’m going to eat each week instead of shopping randomly helps me avoid wasting food. Because everything I buy is part of a recipe, nothing is sitting in my fridge going bad. A good beginners guide to meal prepping can be found here.

2) The Zero-Waste Lunch Kit

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And there are so many great options for carrying all that great food around! Investing in a large Tupperware with sections for snacks was one of my best decisions this year, but there are so many affordable options using things you might already have too. Jam jars make great snack containers, and there are so many alternatives to ways that plastic sneaks into our lunches- fabric and silicone pouches instead of Ziploc bags, thermoses and Tupperware containers, mason jars for salads. Many plastic, and even stainless and glass, containers are available at thrift and second-hand stores.

One of my favorite things I’ve discovered recently is this great alternative to plastic wrap. See here to learn how to DIY it!

Reusable-Food-Wrap

3) Be prepared while on the go

So far, by being prepared, I’ve been able to cut out a lot of avoidable plastic waste from my lunches! Having a medium plastic container, a metal fork and spoon, a reusable straw, a cloth napkin, and my favorite coffee mug in the bottom of my bag takes up very little room, and ensures that whether I’m grabbing a smoothie or packing up leftovers from a lunch meeting at Brass Taps I can ditch the single-use packaging

We hope these tips are helpful! If you have any creative ways to take the trash out of your on-the-go lifestyle let us know in the comments! The week after next I’ll be back with my tips for a zero-waste kitchen!