Live Sustainably

Small actions can create meaningful change

One disposable cup here or an extra drive to the store might not seem like a lot, but our individual actions add up. UBC aims to be as sustainable as possible, and your choices really make a difference.

Need tips on how to live sustainably at UBC? Learn about things like how to sort out your food waste, put your bike on the bus, and use less energy and water.


At UBC, we aim to be a zero-waste campus. This means keeping as much out of the landfill as possible and instead opting to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle everything.

Sort It Out

UBC has Sort It Out recycling stations conveniently located in buildings and locations around campus. With four streams – food scraps, containers, paper and garbage – you can do your part to Sort it Out!

Use MugShare and Green-to-Go

Did you know that people on campus throw away over a million disposable coffee cups each year? Bring your own reusable mug for a discount, or seek out an outlet that participates in MugShare. In addition, UBC Food Service’s handy Green-to-Go system in dining halls lets you borrow and return reusable food containers. 

Play the Sorting Game

Test your waste sorting skills by playing the Sort It Out game. Each play enters you into the draw for a $50 gift certificate to the UBC Bookstore!

Food containers & compost

Did you know that plastics found in food waste bins means that the entire bin will end up in the landfill due to contamination? You are responsible for sorting out your waste, and together we can make a big difference. 

Sort out your food containers and coffee cups

Finished your lunch but not sure what to do with your waste? Learn what goes where in our handy sorting guide.

Learn about UBC’s compost system 

Did you know we have our very own composting system right here on campus? The nifty machine turns food waste into compost used on campus gardens! Watch our video to learn more.



Turn it off! Our energy might seem magical and limitless, but that is far from the truth. Even the simple act of turning the lights off when you leave a room can save significant amounts of energy.


Our appliances eat up energy whenever they’re plugged in, even if they’re off. This includes everything from coffee makers to computers. Turn off your electronics and unplug everything else when they’re not in use.

Lights out!

Last one out of a room? Turn the lights out! Study in naturally-lit places, or use a desk lamp instead of lighting an entire room.

Be bold, go cold!

Who doesn’t like sweater weather? During cold weather, keep windows closed and your thermostat low to save energy. Bundle up with cozy sweaters, socks, and blankets instead.


We have some of the best water in the world here at UBC. Even though it seems like we have a lot, given the rain, our treated drinking water doesn’t just fall from the sky. Our water is limited, so let’s make sure we don’t run dry.

Bring your own water bottle

Did you know that the water in Vancouver is just as good or even better than what comes in store-bought bottles? Bring your own water bottle and fill up on campus. Check out our asset map to find water stations!

Take a five-minute shower

Each year UBC student residences use 520 million litres of water. And HALF of the water is used for showers! Be water wise and take the five-minute shower pledge. 

Coldwash your clothes

When doing laundry, use cold water and only run full loads! Not only does it save water and energy, it also is better for your clothes and helps keep fibres out of our waterways

Turn off the tap!

Washing dishes, brushing your teeth, shaving, you name it! Turn the tap off until you need it.



There are lots of sustainable modes of transportation, and they’re very accessible. Walking, biking, skateboarding, scootering, transiting, you name it! If you have to drive, try out different car share programs or carpool! If you bike, the AMS Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen are great resources.

Use your U-Pass

It’s easy to get around Vancouver with your student U-Pass! The bus is a great way to get to and from campus, plus a great way to explore Metro Vancouver!

Put your bike on the bus

Putting your bike on the bus can be intimidating, but just like the big hill, you can do it! Watch the video to become a pro!

Use Dropbike

Curious about all those bright white and orange bikes on campus? Sign up for Dropbike, UBC’s new campus-wide public bike share program.

Eat sustainably

What we eat affects both our health and our environment. Discover the various types of locally-grown, organic and fair trade ways to eat at UBC!

Eat local & plant-based

The meat and dairy industry has extremely high environmental impacts, and the further away from us our food is, the more energy it takes to get here! While eating primarily plant-based is healthy and tasty too. Sprouts, Seedlings, and Agora cafe are great options for locally grown food. Check out or your favourite place for recipes for plant-based inspiration!

Drink healthy beverages

Water is the best! Swap out sugary drinks for herb-and fruit-infused water or unsweetened tea. Bring your own water bottle and fill up on campus!

Use it up

One third of all food we produce globally is wasted. Buy only what you need, get creative to use up food in your kitchen, and make soups and juices out of produce on its last legs!