A group of people stand around the community garden

We believe small actions can have large impacts. Check out some of our proposed Sustainable Practices

General practices


Take Advantage of the Space
If green space on campus is important to you, engage with it! The more the space is used, the more it will be incorporated into campus design and culture. So bring those textbooks outside and take in some fresh air.

Think Sustainability
When selecting equipment and products, select those that minimize water and energy use and generate the minimum amount of waste products, including wastewater. When contracting services, select vendors who have incorporated sustainability into the services they provide, including the products they use and the means by which they manage waste products resulting from the services they perform.

Use Post-Consumer Content Paper
Purchase at least 30% post-consumer content paper for all of your office needs. 100% post-consumer paper is readily available and is of high quality. Ensure all department brochures, posters and other printing projects are on 100% post-consumer paper.

Purchase Recycled Materials
For any materials you purchase, check for products that contain recycled material. Also, consider if the product can be recycled at the end of its life.

Reduce Chemical Usage and Hazardous Waste
Purchase chemical products that are “environmentally-friendly”, that is, non-hazardous, whenever possible. Only buy the quantity needed. Unused chemicals make up the majority of the hazardous waste requiring disposal.

Try Eco-Friendly Office Parties
Instead of using disposable cups, ask everyone in the office to bring in their own mug/cup to keep in the office. The mugs/cups just need to be rinsed out at the end of the party.

Report Maintenance Issues
If you see a leaky faucet, a running toilet, lights that are constantly on, or anything else that is wasting water or energy, please report the issue by calling the Maintenance Call Centre at ext. 2222.

Suggestion Award Program
Share your ideas on how to make our campus more sustainable. Send us an email

Commuting practices


Take Public Transit
A train or bus requires much less energy per person than a single-occupancy automobile.

Ride a Bike
The bicycle remains the most efficient form of personal transportation ever invented and, of course, it uses no fossil fuels! The campus is full of cycling amenities including secure bike enclosures, outdoor bike repair stations, and cycling lanes.

Learn How to Fix a Bike
Bike repair workshops are available through the Bike Coop.

Accelerate Gently When Driving 
It takes a tremendous amount of energy to rapidly accelerate 2000 lbs of steel, glass, and rubber. Save gas and reduce harmful emissions by accelerating gently.

Maintain Your Vehicle
Changing your oil, replacing the air filter, and doing all the other recommended maintenance will keep your car running efficiently and help it last longer. Washing and waxing even helps cut down wind resistance, but do not wash your car during drought conditions.

Check Your Tires
Inflate your tires to the maximum PSI listed on the sidewall of the tire instead of what is listed by your auto manufacturer. The ride might be a bit stiffer than before, but you will have much less rolling resistance.

Drive the Speed Limit
Most vehicles get the best gas mileage around 100 km/h. Every kilometre per hour above 100 requires increasingly more fuel since wind resistance becomes the limiting factor.

Energy practices


Power Down Your Computer
Activate your energy saving settings and turn off your computer and monitor at the end of the day.

Take The Stairs
Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator.

Flick Off
Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Dress For The Weather
Check the weather before you leave and make sure to dress in layers.

Food practices


Eat Less Meat
The average Canadian eats enough meat to get the amount of protein recommended for Olympic athletes. A meat intensive diet is hard on the environment because livestock require a great deal of land area and resources to grow. Many large livestock operations also release harmful pollutants to our waterways. Meat, especially beef, represents one of the largest sources of GHG emissions. Reducing your intake by one day a week makes a big difference.

Choose FairTrade
Look for the Fair Trade logo. Maybe products are available on campus and in grocery stores and they often don’t cost more money.

"Dine in" 
When given the option "for here or to go," reduce unnecessary waste by dining-in.

Look for the Logos
Local, organic, vegetarian, vegan and fair trade foods are available all over the campus. Learn what their logos our and keep an eye out for them.

Good Food Boxes
Fresh wholesale food boxes are available through the SFUO Food Bank during select times of the year.

Check out the Farmers markets
The SFUO organizes several farmers markets during the year. Support a local farmer while filling up your tummy.

Waste practices


Recycling Should Be a Last Resort
We too often think of recycling as an ultimate sustainable task. Always remember, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is an order of processes. Reducing the amount of stuff you use should be the first priority.

Relocate Recycling Bins! 
Recycling bins should be in every building on campus but they might not be in the best locations. You know the habits and patterns of your co-workers best; if you see that a recycling bin would be more effective if it were in a different location, contact Sanitary Services and ask them to move it.

Reduce Paper Usage
Send documents and memos electronically. If you must print, print double-sided.

Print Wisely 
Be mindful of how much paper you will use when printing and adjust your document accordingly. Reduce your margin size. Print single spaced. Delete text you do not need.

Reuse Single Sided Paper
Set up a bin to collect paper printed only on one side. For drafts use this previously used paper rather than a virgin piece.

Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels
Even when you factor in the amount of water and energy required to clean rags, they are much better for the environment than single use paper towels.

Use Reusable Cups Instead of Disposable Cups 
North America uses 60% of the world’s paper cups (130 billion of them each year). Those cups require about 50 million trees and 33 billion gallons of water, which could sequester 9.3 million tonnes of CO2. Not to mention the landfill space they take up because most are non-recyclable. Stop the insanity – use a reusable cup.

Don’t Litter
Tossing your waste on the ground creates pollution for humans and animals.

Buy Reused text books
The University of Ottawa has partnered with Textbooks For Change to recycle your old textbooks, but you ca also buy used books from their Amazon page.


Water practices


Report Leaks and Drips
Whenever you see a leak or a drip, report it right away. You can do so through social media, by sending us an email.

Don’t Let the Water Run
Turn off the tap in between washing your hands or brushing your teeth.

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