Use reusable or compostable dishware!
Using reusable dishware is always best, as it reduces waste going to the landfill. If that’s not practical, try to buy environmentally friendly, compostable tableware instead.
Recycling and composting bins
Convenient, clearly marked receptacles for recycling can come in many sizes. Place them next to any trash cans. To further decrease waste going to the landfill, add a bin for food scraps that you can compost later. If there is a communal area in your apartment or housing unit, talk with your neighbors about working together on joint recycling efforts. In addition, remember that students and staff at UM can recycle or compost 100 percent at dining halls and retail spaces. Think of the impact if that extends into the community.
Buy Local Foods
Think locally when planning your menu. Shipping ingredients from another part of the country, or even the world requires a tremendous amount of fuel. Head to a farmers’ market for in-season fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, eggs and dairy products. They’re fresher and are often priced the lowest.
Use Reusable; or Aluminum Foil
If you’re packing a lunch to take across campus, use reusable containers or aluminum foil to cover and store. Clean foil can be crumpled up and tossed into the recycling bin, making it better than plastic wrap to cover and store food.
Walk, bike, bus or carpool
Walking and biking help keep you and the environment healthy, but if the distance is too great (or you’re bogged down with books), public transportation and carpooling helps save time, money and the environment. Rideshare and if you’re inviting friends in, let them know who is coming from their area, and offer to put them in contact with someone who might be able to give them a ride, or might appreciate getting a ride from them.
Take it on the road
On road trips, pack food and snacks in reusable containers and bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Don’t forget to bring along bags to collect recyclables in the car and look for recycling bins at rest stops.
With just a little extra effort, you can always be eco-friendly!
-Contributed by Keith Soster - Director of Student Engagement and Sustainability for Michigan Dining