A reusable container with food inside it sits on a desk with a reusable water bottle and reusable cutlery near it.

The start of school is just around the corner and Humber College’s Office of Sustainability has launched a new campaign encouraging students to embrace a sustainable lifestyle.

Gabi Hentschke, sustainability communications and engagement coordinator at Humber, said the start of a new year is a great time to reach out to students to let them know how to incorporate sustainable habits into their daily routines.  

“Students are coming back to campus and it may be many people's first time here. So, we really want to highlight the different sustainability features that Humber offers because it could be the first people are hearing about them,” said Hentschke.

Hentschke noted that incorporating green initiatives into daily life has benefits both for the individual and for the environment. Something as simple as bringing your own reusable water bottle to campus and refilling it at one of the college’s filling stations saves you money and cuts down on the use of plastic.

“This is just one example of how sustainable habits are good for you in addition to being good for the planet,” said Hentschke.

The Office of Sustainability is taking a multifaceted approach with its campaign.

They will have a physical presence with booths set up throughout Orientation to talk about the campaign, the Office and its sustainability initiatives.  

They will also be promoting it through social media and have created an Instagram Guide filled with posts offering advice, tips and other information incoming students will find valuable. For example, there’s a post about how to have a sustainable dorm room along with details on how to properly sort your waste while at campus.

They have a blog post about five ways to be sustainable, including using reusable food containers and taking public transit or carpooling to campus.  

They’re also promoting North Campus’ O2GO and Lakeshore Campus’ Friendlier reusable container programs and are encouraging the Humber community to use the hashtag #ReuseHumber to help spread the word about them. Users pay a deposit and receive their meals in containers that, when finished being used, are cleaned and sanitized to be used again.  

Last year, about 100,000 single-use containers were saved from becoming landfill thanks to the initiative.

They also want the Humber community to know about Smart Commute. It’s a program that connects users with sustainable travel options, including public transit and carpooling, which reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Through the app, users can select rides with other members of Humber’s community.

The college also allows carpool members the option to split a parking permit to save money.

Other initiatives from the office include having recycling bins for used personal protective equipment such as masks, clothing, batteries and pens available on campus.

To help further reduce waste, the office will be giving out a set of reusable bamboo cutlery to students who sign up for their newsletter during Orientation events.

The areas and initiatives being highlighted in the campaign come from the Sustainability Steering Committee, a cross-institutional advisory body that provides integrated, collaborative, evidence-based advice to ensure Humber’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in planning and decision-making across the college.