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How-to's

In this section you can find all the necessary information for you to be sustainble.

How-to's

Are you, or is an organisation you know, organising an event? No matter the size of the event, it can have an environmental impact. By introducing some simple sustainability measures, you can minimize the environmental impact and spread awareness on sustainability practices. Have a look at our guides!

Welcome to the newest column of the Leiden University Green Office newsletter! Every month, I will present a new ‘How To’ guide with tips, tricks and hacks to give you a push in the right direction to live more sustainably! 

Although most students of Leiden University are still busy with their exams and theses at this point, summer is around the corner! Of course, making summer plans goes with some uncertainty due to COVID.* However, relaxing and enjoying a vacation is vital in these times and some weeks off will prepare you for the start of the new uni-year. This is why Leiden University Green Office presents its How-To theme of June: How to travel sustainably? 

*First of all, we do not encourage you to go abroad this summer. However, if you are going abroad anyway this summer, please check all regulations of RIVM and the possible consequences (PCR-tests, mandatory quarantine, etc.). In addition, make your stay abroad as sustainably as possible!

Sustainable travel is a much-debated topic. Questions such as ‘Does sustainable travel exist?’ and ‘Does eating vegetarian mean nothing if you travel by plane?’ are being widely discussed. Although the answers to these questions aren’t directly in favour of travelling, it’s a good thing that these topics come up for discussion. It demonstrates a certain awareness surrounding the topic of travelling. In my opinion, the first step before changing your (travelling) habits, is the consciousness about your ecological footprint. 

Leiden University Green Office presents tips to travel more sustainably in four elements: travelling in the Netherlands, travelling by train, carpooling and sustainable hotspots in Europe. Educate yourself about travelling green!

TRAVEL IN THE NETHERLANDS: stay close to home and find local adventures! The summer of 2020 proved that the Netherlands have so much more to offer than a lot of people initially thought. Staying in the Netherlands is the most eco-friendly to do and offers lots of opportunities!

  • Did you develop a soft spot for walking? Try the Pieterpad: similar to the famous Santiago de Compostela route, is the Dutch Pieterpad route all the way from the north of the Netherlands to the south. Enjoy the countryside, cities and nature while you’re on the move!
  • It will be hard to notice the difference between one of these Airbnb-locations and a far away getaway. These unique locations provide the perfect combination of relaxing and adventure. A lot of these accommodations are eco-friendly and are nearby forests and parks.  
  • Biking vacations are more popular than ever! Explore the Netherlands like never before and hop by cities, farms and the coastline. Most biking routes can be found on ANWB.

TRAVELLING BY TRAIN: travelling by train is proved to be the most sustainable way of travelling in Europe. This is compared with the CO2-emission of planes, busses and cars. Attached to this article, you can find the infographic of three LUC-students with more information about travelling in Europe. 

  • Interrail your way through Europe! Yes, it’s popular to travel through Asia and such, but Europe has so much more to offer than most people imagine. With this Interrail ticket, you can reserve spots on numerous train trips all around Europe. 
  • Are you less interested in multiple countries and do you want to go straight to your place of destination? That’s also possible! Have a look at the Mediterranean trains on the B-Europe website. Look for more European destinations on NS International- Interrail.
  • Do you need inspiration? One look on these websites and you’re sold! Interrail Routes, Rail Tripping and We Are Travellers

CARPOOLING: unfortunately, COVID changed the game carpooling. Whereas it was a true adventure to carpool your way to the other side of Europe, it now has a lot more risks doing so. There will be a time when we can roam the website of BlaBlaCar again and hop cities for a very low budget. 
However, there are still ways to ‘carpool’ around Europe, for example by renting a van of camper!

  • Indie Van offers a wide range of vans and campers with now a 20% booking discount. 
  • Travel around the Netherlands in PaulCampers! The site offers a wide variety of vans, campers and cars. 
  • Find the van-fit for you (and your family or friends) on Camper rental Holland

SUSTAINABLE HOTSPOTS: if you’re travelling this summer, you might as well pick a sustainable destination! Sustainable tourism is the way to go for the future, and in my opinion, it should be one of the main travel criteria for all sustainability minded people. 

  • Have a look at the winners of Europe’s Green Capital to see what cities have been doing a great job in terms of sustainable tourism. Lisbon was last year’s winner, and Lahti and Grenoble have been chosen as the winners of 2021 and 2022. 
  • If you’re visiting a coast, make sure to research if those places are Marine Protected Areas
  • Book a sustainable stay at Book Different. This site contributes to Responsible Tourism and offer luxurious places as well as budget-friendly hostels. 

That’s a wrap for June! Good luck, and share your summer plans with @leidenuniversitygreenoffice
outreach@lugo.leidenuniv.nl. We are beyond curious!

Green Greets,

Janey 

Welcome to the newest column of the Leiden University Green Office newsletter! Every month, I will present a new ‘How To’ guide with tips, tricks and hacks to give you a push in the right direction to live more sustainably! 

The overarching theme of May will be BIODIVERSITY. How to increase the biodiversity in your own outdoor space? It can be a balcony, a roof terrace or a garden; this month the bees, butterflies and birds will benefit from your efforts! 

At the moment of writing this column the skies are grey and spring seems miles away. Nevertheless, I am confident that the rest of this month will bring us blue skies and a lot of sun! This will hopefully not only benefit our moods and our Vitamin B intake, but it will also make your indoor and outdoor plants very happy! This month we focus on your outdoor space. From big gardens to tiny balconies, we aspire you to roll up your sleeves and to see the impact of your actions.

Due to the fact that most of us are still working from home, the interest in our own tiny forests has increased. In addition, the municipality of Leiden has declared 2021 as Year of the Garden. It means there’s no more time for excuses to work on your outdoor space. 

The problem these times is that the increase in paved gardens is putting more and more pressure on biodiversity. Birds, butterflies, bees, hedgehogs and other small animals leave their backyards due to the loss of their food sources. The extra stones also lead to waterlogging and heat stress. Most people think that a green garden is expensive, but it’s the opposite! With a touch of creativity and LUGO’s tips, you can have a green garden in the blink of an eye! 

1. PICK YOUR PLANTS (WISELY)

Purchasing a bunch of new plants doesn’t have to be expensive. Search on Marktplaats, Facebook Marketplace for ‘stekjes’ or ‘sprouts’or join Facebook-groups such as Planten-Stekjesruil, Plants & Sprouts Leiden. Visit the plantenstekjesruil website or join the Stek App! To create the largest impact in terms of biodiversity, make sure to:
•    Check if your plants are bee and butterfly friendly. Pick flowers and plants such as lavender, catnip, campanula, sunflower and cornflower, but don’t forget that bees need food in the early months of spring as well. Plant crocus flowers, snowdrops and pansies to start your bee-garden early!
•    Choose plants to attract as many birds as possible! Bee and birdspotting has never been so popular as it is right now. Pick the purple coneflower, the crabapple, the sunflower, the serviceberry and the red cedar to attract birds. For more tips on how to increase the birds in your garden, have a look at this link

2. CREATE A FAUNA FESTIVAL

We just mentioned the most important plants to attract insects and small animals to your garden. To add up, there are ways to increase the biodiversity even more! 
•    Create a Bee Hotel! While we are unable to travel to faraway hotels and hostels, we can provide this luxury for the local bees! Get creative and DIY your own bee-hotel. The dry and warm environment is perfect for bees to shelter and to lay eggs in. 
•    Create bird-houses: With less and less trees in the city, it’s important that birds have a sheltered space to breed. These DIY bird-houses are fun to make, and will save you money compared to most birdhouses.  
•    Create Bird-feeders: There’s no excuse for not having anything that’s suitable for a bird-feeder; from an old milk carton to a tea pot, birds will love it once you transformed it into a bird feeder. Click on the link for the DIY-manual! Remember to provide food for the birds in autumn and winter as well!
•    Try out a wild corner! If you have space on your property to do so, leave an area of your garden free for wild plants to grow. Most wildflowers attract a wide variety of bees and insects. Interested in free wildflower seeds from LUGO? Let us know by sending an email! There are some seeds left from the National Seed Day (April 22). 

Other things you can do to become aware of the biodiversity around you!
•    Check the pavement plants: you might be the owner of a very unique species! Check out this video about how to spot them! 
•    Stay updated about the Biodiversity project of Leiden University Green Office in collaboration with the Hortus, UFB and Vastgoed! With expertise of the Hortus Botanicus we are going to enlarge the population of the existing bee species in Leiden! How and where? Soon to be continued! 
•    Do your own research on biodiversity: count the bees and birds every week and see if they increase after your efforts! 

That’s a wrap for May! Good luck, and share your results with us @leidenuniversitygreenoffice
outreach@lugo.leidenuniv.nl. We are beyond curious!

Green Greets,
Janey

Welcome to the newest column of the Leiden University Green Office newsletter! Every month, I will present a new ‘How To’ guide with tips, tricks and hacks to give you a push in the right direction to live more sustainably! 

The overarching theme of April will be WASTE.  How to reduce your daily, weekly and monthly waste?

It is a fact that with everything you purchase, you are left with a certain amount of waste. Take for example the carton coffee cup you used during your coffee walk, or the wrappings of the package you ordered online (especially since most shops are closed now). It is difficult to live entirely without waste, but we urge you to start off this spring with minimal waste!

The topic of Zero Waste has become trending during the past years.  However, with the global population still growing, it is estimated that in 2050, the world will produce 3.4 billion tons of waste annually. Reducing, reusing and recycling products has to become the main solution to this stealthy problem. LUGO shares tips and tricks on how to become aware of your waste production and how to reduce it!

Minimize the waste through the day!

  • Bring a REUSABLE CUP/BOTTLE during your ‘coffee walk’ or any walk! Bringing your own water bottle will reduce the urge to buy unnecessary and expensive drinks, which are most likely sold in plastic bottles. In addition, you’ll be hydrated wherever you go! 
  • These times, it’s almost impossible to not spot the overflowing bins when you’re grabbing a coffee. Although most cups can be recycled, they still require a lot of energy to be produced. For this reason it’s already much more environment friendly to bring your own coffee cup!
  • Use REUSABLE BAGS for all of your shopping! This might be the oldest and most known tip, but I think it can’t be stressed enough. It’s still something people often forget at home. From now on, put ‘bag’ on top of your grocery list, so you won’t forget to bring a bag. When shopping in general, you’ll save a lot of single use plastic and carton bags by bringing a canvas bag. Haven’t got a canvas bag yet? Participate in the GIVEAWAY of LUGO, and win one! 
  • Check the ECOLABELS on the products you buy. It makes it easier to choose a sustainable product, which is produced with minimal waste and will leave minimal waste as well. Check this label during your next grocery shopping!
  • MINIMIZE PLASTIC FOOD WASTE during the day. While the closest supermarket may be the easiest option, it is more likely to buy plastic-free products elsewhere. Try out the market or a foreign supermarket: they will mostly sell their vegetables and fruits without plastic. Don’t forget to bring a bag for the veggies! Also, make sure to PREPARE YOUR MEALS. Becoming more organized in what you eat during the week will increase the awareness of the groceries you buy, the money you spend, and it will reduce the amount of waste. 
  • COMPOST WASTE! 25% of the items in your trash cans can be composted in your garden! A few examples of the items which can be composted; egg shells, coffee residual, leaves, vegetable leftovers. It has multiple advantages; one of them is that you’ll save on plant nutrition. The organic waste that is composted will absorb more water which means that you’ll need to water your plants less often. It’s a win-win situation, right?
  • AVOID PURCHASING NEW STUFF in general by fixing your broken goods. Although you may try to buy as much long-lasting products, fashion, furniture etc. as possible, chances are that not all of these products will actually last forever. Boost your creativity and your DIY-skills by fixing your broken goods. Try to sew your clothes and uplift your furniture with a lick of paint, mend broken stuff. Remember that for all of this, there will be a youtube video available 😉 If you need a helping hand, look for the hundreds of Repair Café’s in the Netherlands (Also three in Leiden)!

For more tips, have a look at the following websites:

That’s a wrap for April! Good luck, and share your story with us! 
@leidenuniversitygreenoffice
outreach@lugo.leidenuniv.nl

Green Greets,
Janey 

Welcome to the newest column of the Leiden University Green Office newsletter! Every month, I will present a new ‘How To’ guide with tips, tricks and hacks to give you a push in the right direction to live more sustainably! 

The overarching theme in March will be: WATER. How to reduce your water use? 

Water plays a central role in our daily life and it’s important to raise awareness about this topic. We don’t always realise the luxury of having access to clean and unlimited water. According to ourworldindata.com, 666 million people do not have access to an improved water source and 29% of the world does not have access to safe drinking water. 

In addition, drinking water is part of a careful process that is linked to the use of wastewater. Globally, around 80% of the wastewater ends up back in the ecosystem without being treated or used. This will not only increase the risk of deceases, but it is also bad for our environment: waste water is a breeding ground for algae and many lakes and rivers are suffering from a degradation of the aquatic ecosystem. 

How to reduce your water use? 

In this part of the column, I’ll answer the main question of the month by providing daily and easy tips. Before diving into the tips and tricks, you might want to dive a little deeper in the size of the water problem. Netflix’ Explained has made an 18 minute episode about the World’s Water Crisis. Watch it during your lunch or breakfast for more in-depth information!

Now, let’s reduce our water use:

  • •SHOWER SMART: Although there is nothing better than enjoying a shower after a long day, an efficient shower shouldn’t take up more than 4 minutes. To give you a push in the right direction, use this Shower Smart Song-playlist from Spotify! The list contains only 4-minute songs so you can shower smart and enjoy music at the same time!
  • STORE RAINWATER: Living in the Netherlands, rain is part of our daily lives. Although we like to complain about it, we can also make use of it! Next time it rains, try to collect the rainwater. Use this water for your indoor plants, garden, or even for cleaning purposes! Save water and make your plants happy 😊
  • SAVE UP DIRTY CLOTHES/DISHES:  Especially during a lockdown like this, you should consider washing your clothes less-often. Of course I don’t encourage anyone to keep walking in their stinky clothes, but by saving up your dirty clothes and washing them all at once, you save a lot of water and unnecessary energy. The same goes for your dishwasher: only turn on the dishwasher when it’s completely full. 
  • STEAM VEGGIES: It might not pop up in your head immediately, but steaming veggies is an easy and super quick way to reduce your water use and enjoy your food at the same time. Click here for a quick how to (within this How To) for steaming veggies!
  • CALCULATE YOUR WATER USE: Gain insight in your water use and calculate how much water you use on a daily basis here or calculate your water-footprint.  If this column hasn’t been the eye-opener yet, your daily water-use results may encourage you to be more aware! 
  • JOIN THE PIPE @ LEIDEN UNIVERSITY: make sure to bring your own bottle of water and to tap from our Join the Pipe waterpoints! By using these water tap points, you contribute to worldwide projects to improve water projects in developing countries. 

Do good and share these tips and tricks with fellow roommates and friends!

This was it for March! Stay tuned for next month with tips on How to tackle WASTE!

Good luck, and share your story with us! 
@leidenuniversitygreenoffice
outreach@lugo.leidenuniv.nl

Green Greets,

Janey 

Welcome to the newest column of the Leiden University Green Office newsletter! Every month, I will present a new ‘How To’ guide with tips, tricks and hacks to give you a push in the right direction to live more sustainably! 

This month, we will kick off the new year with a How To Become Vegetarian and How To Reduce Food Waste. You can probably already guess the overall theme of the month: FOOD. 

Food is part of all of our daily lives: we consume food all day long. This is made possible by the production of large quantities of food from large farms from all over the world. Although this brings along socioeconomic benefits, it also increases socioeconomic problems for the poor and it increases the risk of exposing food to unhygienic environments and contamination (from: ScienceDirect). The worldwide pandemic has shown us the dangers of the mass-(wild)meat industry and it will hopefully stimulate people to eat more responsible. 

How to Become Vegetarian?

In this part of the column, I’ll address the easy ways to become a vegetarian, or even vegan! The most important part in your journey is the willpower. Give your willpower and good resolution a boost with the 21-day challenge: according to research, it takes 21 days to form a new habit (from: Psycho-Cybernetics). It is a comfortable time period to try out, built and maintain a new habit.

Before the start of your 21-day vegan/vegetarian challenge, make sure to:
1.    Have good reasons! Write down why you want to try to become vegan or vegetarian. It will function as a reminder any time you are having doubts. Also, check out some books from the library to substantiate your challenge-arguments. 
2.    Find good recipes! Nothing is more motivating a vegan or vegetarian diet than a finger-licking and delicious recipe. There is a serious possibility that you will be overwhelmed by the number of recipes, but to give you a push in the right direction I have added two links:
•    Oh My Veggies | A Vegetarian Food Blog
•    De hippe vegetariër | Vegetarische recepten & inspiratie
3.    Substitute meat! Becoming vegan or vegetarian goes along with tasty substitutes, such as a wide variety of nuts, grains, seeds and proteins (tofu, tempeh). This way, you’ll receive the nutrition you need. Click here for an overview of the products you can buy at your local market, supermarket or toko! Also, supermarkets such as Hoogvliet and Albert Heijn often promote meat-substituting products, so I encourage you to try them out and to find your favourite!
4.    Tell friends & have fun! Becoming vegetarian and vegan is fun and cool! By telling friends and family that you are not eating meat anymore, prevents them to buy meat products for you and they might become inspired themselves!

Show your journey with us! We are curious if you succeed in the 21-day challenge and if you have found other tips and tricks to reduce or to exclude meat from your daily food. Send your stories to outreach@lugo.leidenuniv.nl or tag @leidenuniversitygreenoffice on Instagram!

How to Reduce Food Waste?

Are you often frightened by the amount of waste you produce? Reducing food waste might be one of the best new year’s resolutions you can adapt in your daily life. 
•    Food waste at supermarket: don’t choose the perfect looking paprika or eggplant, but pick the ugly-ones: they taste just as good and won’t be thrown away when you buy them. The perfect veggies will be bought anyway. 
•    Use leftovers wisely: empty your cabinets! Start February clean and organized by checking the expiration dates, and by using the pasta/rice you still have. Also, be creative and use your almost-empty peanutbutter or wine bottles for late purposes. Check out these solutions at: Too Good To Go
•    Start Meal prepping! Becoming more organized in what you eat during the week, will not only reduce food waste, but it will also make you more aware of what you spend on food. For more tips, have a look at '30 ways to reduce your waste'.

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