Sustainability Tips


From choosing sustainable transportation options to making better consumer choices, there are many things students and the rest of the IOF community can do in their everyday lives to be more sustainable during their time here.


Below is a list of actions you can take to be more sustainable in your day-to-day living at IOF, UBC, and beyond.


Sustainable Actions at IOF and UBC


Tip Why Resources
Bus or bike to work and around Vancouver Lower carbon emissions compared to driving a car
  • IOF has bike racks – bring your own lock!
  • Visit UBC Bike Kitchen for repairs, bike parking cages and bike lockers at UBC
  • U-Pass is assessed as part of student fees, and offers transportation across the Lower Mainland at greatly reduced rates
  • Use Mobi, Vancouver’s public bike sharing system, around Vancouver
  • Check out Vancouver’s bike routes
  • Check out Translink bus routes
Carpool or carshare if you need a car Lower carbon emissions compared to driving solo
For long-distance travel for vacations or conferences, take the train, group coach or bus instead of plane Lower carbon emissions compared to taking a plane



Tip Why How
Bring your own reusable plates, mugs and utensils to IOF and UBC Reduces use of single-use plastics and utensils like paper plates, plastic utensils and related items
  • You can wash your plates and utensils at IOF sinks!
  • Forgot your reusable cup? Use UBC Mugshare, UBC’s discount mug sharing service
  • Eating out? Bring your own reusable container for leftovers to avoid disposable takeout containers
  • Campus groups like Sprouts provide food and encourage sustainable consumption, largely by donation
Try to buy local, in-season foods Limits transportation emissions and supports local communities
  • UBC Farm sells local, in-season food during growing season at their markets
  • Check out your local supermarkets for seasonal, local foods
Try to buy foods without plastic or less packaging, and in bulk Reduces plastic or packaging waste from food purchases
  • Check out Vancouver’s no-packaging grocer Nada
  • Bring your own reusable shopping bag
  • If plastic is the only option, choose numbers 1, 2 and 5 (compared to 3 and 6) – these plastics are more likely to be recycled and stay on land [1]
  • Try to avoid single-use plastics
If buying seafood, try to purchase sustainably Reduces chance of buying threatened species and supporting companies with inequitable fishing practices
If possible, try to consume less meat, especially red meat Production of meat, especially red meat, can emit large amounts of carbon emissions
  • Look to consuming a mostly plant-based diet if possible


Consumer Purchases

Tip Why How
Consider buying items, appliances and clothes second-hand as opposed to new Reduces waste by repurposing an older item that might have been thrown away
Donate old clothing and items, or recycle old items Reduces waste by repurposing an older item that might have been thrown away
Avoid buying products that are especially destructive to the environment, like microplastics Reduces the chance of your purchase harming the environment once it is unusable


Resource Conservation

Tip Why How
Try to conserve water Reduces water usage
  • Turn off taps when not in use
Try to conserve energy Reduces energy usage
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn down heat and put on sweater if possible
Limit paper and printing use if possible Reduces paper waste
  • Print double-sided
  • Consider keeping copies digital rather than printing if possible


Social Sustainability & Citizenship

Tip Why How
Reach out to the IOF Sustainability Committee Contributing your ideas to the committee can help start conversations and instigate changes at IOF
  • See the Sustainability page for the current members of the IOF Sustainability committee
Be politically active Supporting officials who encourage sustainable action can lead to more sustainable changes on a wider level, like at the municipal or federal level
  • Write to elected officials, attend public meetings and contribute to public consultations for sustainable action
  • If you’re a Canadian abroad, you can vote through this process
  • If you’re an international student in Canada, you can view your country’s own voting procedures for voting abroad
Support Indigenous communities [2] Indigenous stewardship of their traditional territories produces the healthiest ecosystems, so supporting Indigenous rights can create as well as conserve healthy environments
  • Learn about and support the Coastal First Nations, an alliance of 9 BC nations who aim to protect the coast while building their economies
Participate in oceans outreach and sustainability outreach programs Outreach can help spread awareness and instigate change at both local and broader levels
  • The IOF Student Society organizes a Shoreline Cleanup every year – contact the team for details on how to join
  • The Ocean Leaders Program may offer opportunities for outreach
  • UBC has many environmental groups and clubs you can get involved in


Getting Involved in Vancouver

There are many ways to get involved in sustainability beyond IOF and UBC, including:



[1], [2] “Ten Things You Can Do to Protect Ocean Health“, written in collaboration by Ocean Leaders Fellows
Fiona Beaty, Cameron Bullen, Sara Cannon, Fanny Couture, Kaleigh Davis, Rocio Lopez de la Lama, Santiago de la Puente, and Heather Summers.