How to Be a Sustainable Student in Kingston

Written by Tess Wittmann

Written by Tess Wittmann

School is just around the corner and it is time to start preparing! There is a lot you can do on your own to positively impact the environment, so check out this list to see how you can become a more sustainable student in Kingston!

1) Check out Boho & Hobo’s eco-products such as the Campus Kit to save money and live zero waste.

2) Go to Tara Natural Foods downtown for a wide variety of wholesome foods, from fresh, local, produce, to the latest developments in health supplements and super foods.

3) Grab a tea or coffee at the Tea Room: North America's first zero-consumer waste, carbon neutral café.

4) Reduce by reusing clothing! Try out thrift shopping at Ca$h for Clothes or the Salvation Army.

5) Did you hear about the petition earlier this summer to ban plastic straws in Kingston? Carry a reusable straw with you! You can find them in many eco-friendly stores in Kingston like the Living Rooms.

6) Be sure to use a reusable water bottle and travel mugs to avoid single-use cups and bottles. Even if they can be recycled, it is better to reuse to reduce consumption!

7) Use reusable bags as an alternative to single-use bags. You won’t have to pay for plastic bags and you will lessen your environmental impact.

8) Take notes electronically or think about eco-friendly notebooks and supplies if you prefer by hand! For example, the Sustainable Earth notebooks by Staples.

9) Use campus recycling and composting. Take a look at Queen’s University Recycling and St. Lawrence College’s Recycling.

10) Promote sustainable transportation by walking, biking, boarding, and rollerblading to school. Here are St. Lawrence College’s bike rack locations and Queen’s University’s bike rack locations. Register your bike at Queen’s University or St. Lawrence College.

Also, use the bus! Learn how to use the Rack & Roll program by mounting your bike on the bus. Watch this video to learn how to use it. St. Lawrence College and Queen’s student cards work as free bus passes, and high school students are also eligible for free bus passes.

11) Buy used textbooks or online copies! Used books are going to cost you less, and they don’t contribute to new printing.

12) Join an environmental club/green team! This provides the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals and brainstorm to create positive change. Check out Queen’s University student initiatives and St. Lawrence College’s student initiatives.

13) Participate in sustainability events such as Sustainability Week at Queen’s University (Sept/Oct), SK’s Climate Change Symposium (January), Pitch-In (April), and Earth Day (April).

14) Carpool to save money, help the environment and reduce traffic! Win-win-win! Carpooling programs exist at both St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University.

15) Grab a drying rack and hang your clothes instead of using the dryer! Save money and energy! 

16) Recycle and compost! It is cheaper than paying for garbage tags, and it's good for the planet.

17) Join a community garden or create your own if you are here for the summer! Have delicious fun while improving the sustainability of our City!

18) Attempt the Queen’s Vegan Pledge! Support a more sustainable lifestyle by going vegan for the month, or even longer!

19) Try the SK Summer Challenge on your own! Avoid bringing or buying single-use items at school by using reusable alternatives.

20) Lush sells a package-free shampoo bar! They eliminate packaging all together and outlast two to three bottles of liquid shampoo.

21) Check out these 10 apps for Sustainable Living.

22) More and more people are ordering stuff online and having it delivered to their door.  While that might reduce the amount that you are travelling, your stuff still needs to travel.  If you are ordering several items, order them at the same time or order things with a friend.  Fewer deliveries means less packaging and fewer trips to your house!

23) If you are furnishing your house, ask older relatives if they have items you can take. If grandma is downsizing, this is the perfect time for you to go retro. If this isn’t possible, buy household items with your roommates and avoid duplicating items that don't get used often.

24) Volunteer at SK or another community organization! We love engaging with excited and passionate students.

Try out a few of these to work toward becoming a more sustainable student and enhancing Kingston’s resiliency and livability as a community! If you try any of these, or have your own sustainable student tips, post about it on Facebook and tag us (@sustainablekingston). Enjoy the school year and reach out if you have any questions.