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Sustainable U: Sustainable swaps for November 2021

By Rachneet Randhawa, November 30 2021—

For this month’s sustainable swaps we’ve catered to the last-minute and all-hell is breaking loose as final exam season hits students. We get it — final exam season is quickly approaching and the last reminder you need is that your daily habits are wasteful. But again, remember that sustainable living is all about mindfulness. Remembering to eat meals and wash your face might seem like silly advice, but you’d be surprised what stress does to us subconsciously. Do what you can to sustain yourself and we guarantee you’ll feel more wholesome at the end of the day.

Coffee lovers: 

We love us some boatloads of coffee during study sessions and having a reusable coffee mug is handy, even if you buy your coffee on a daily basis from the many dispensaries on campus. You can always opt to say no to plastic disposable cups. 

The problem with single-use disposable coffee cups is that they are made of fossil fuels as a petroleum-based polystyrene cup or cheap styrofoam that can take millions of years to fully and completely decompose in the landfill. So grabbing this alternative is a no-brainer. This Hot Cap 20 oz. Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug by Camelback is a hot pick as it’s recommended for hot beverages up to 90 degrees Celsius with a 360 degree leak-proof cap allowing you to drink flexibly from any side and disassembled for easy cleaning. Best of all, it’s BPA, BPS and BPF free of all those nasty industrial chemicals and is B Corp Certified so you know you’re making a worthwhile purchase. 

And what about those sleeves that we toss on our piping hot beverage cups? There’s a swap for that too! Check out the Upcycled Bevvie Sleeve by Belts made of 100 per cent recycled pop bottles and an easy all-in-one loop clamps onto your on-the-go coffee cup and also serves as a beverage koozie and key ring. Best of all it gives back to the community including supporting Indigenous artists. If you like your coffee brewed homemade style you can opt for reusable coffee filters. These KINTO cotton coffee filters are amazing as they are made with no chemicals and are B Corp Certified. 

Mesh produce bags: 

Do you ever wonder what happens to those flimsy plastic baggies you use at the supermarket after you toss them away? Unless they are biodegradable, of which most are not, they unfortunately end up in our landfills taking up a thousand years to decompose. Now is the time to get a convenient set of mesh produce bags. Our favourites are a colourful set of  four reusable produce bags by Chicobag as they’re BPA-free and replace up to 530 single-use plastic bags. You have options for types of sets either moisture-locking which are perfect for keeping lettuce, spinach, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli and more from wilting and becoming stale. Their mesh bags are good for all kinds of fruits and vegetables and are easy to clean by simply tossing them in the washing machine.

Silicone resealable food bag

Made from all-natural silica, this material has become all the rage lately for living a zero-waste versatile from ice cube trays to non-stick baking sheets. The possibilities are endless and less harsh for the environment compared to disposable plastics. Silicone is an eco-friendly material as it can withstand incredibly high temperatures from piping hot to ice cold but it’s also BPA-free preventing chemical disruptors from leaching into your food. Best of all, it lasts longer than conventional plastic too — so any sustainable substitutes that use it influence you to live a greener lifestyle. For example, this reusable silicone Snack Bag by Stasher comes in fun colours made of the same non-toxic 100 per cent pure platinum silicone with a lock clasp seal that is endlessly reusable. These bags are both microwave and dishwasher safe and you can even write cut reminder notes on them for easy reference. Best of all, the brand is women-owned and part of the one per cent for the planet initiative and is B-Corp certified.

Bento Box

Okay, we have literally given you oh so many sustainable alternatives for all you foodies but here’s just one more. We love some Mac Hall dining as it can be a pain to pack your lunch every day especially during exam season when eating three square meals a day is laughable. Originally a Japanese cultural practice, bento boxes have become incredibly popular due to food influencers and chefs for food prep and meal planning. They have convenient compartments and are usually made of non-plastic material like stainless steel. These simple but useful Medium Trio stainless steel bento boxes from LunchBots are convenient for a sandwich and a quick snack fix whether veggies or crackers. 

Power bank
The last thing you need is a tapped-out battery while you are intensely studying or jamming to your tunes, preferably our Gauntlet-approved songs and tracks while commuting to campus and zoned out. Did you know there was an eco-friendly version of a power bank? Meet CHAMP Portable Charger by Nimble with 72.5 per cent made from post-consumer, or recycled plastic, and uses biodegradable, plastic-free packaging. Each charger pack comes with a recycled plastic baggie so that you can safely and responsibly dispose of your old tech for free be that an old phone or iPod as part of their One-for-One Tech Recovery efforts. Best of all the company is B-Corp Certified, is a one per cent For The Planet member and is Climate Neutral Certified.

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.

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