July 22, 2019

Five simple solutions to start living a plastic-free life

Office of Sustainability shares steps to reduce plastic pollution on campus and at home
Fill it Forward at UCalgary! Bring your own bottle.
Fill it Forward at UCalgary! Bring your own bottle.

Cutting back on plastic might seem like a small feat, but has a big payoff for our planet. Deemed plastic-free month, in July challenge yourself to reduce your plastic use with these five simple steps.

  1. Bring your own bottle

One of the easiest ways to cut back on single-use plastic is by bringing your own water bottle or mug. In addition to reducing the number of plastic water bottles that end up in our ocean, water from the City of Calgary is usually purer and cleaner than bottled water — it gets tested more than 150,000 times in a world-class water treatment and testing facility.

As an added bonus, UCalgary partnered with Fill it Forward earlier this year. Every time you refill your reusable cup on campus, Fill it Forward gives a cup of clean water to someone in need around the world. Pick up your sticker from the Sustainability Resource Centre, Ancillary Services, The Landing or Starbucks to start tracking your usage and earning rewards today!


Celebrate plastic-free month and say no to single-use plastics with five simple strategies.

Celebrate plastic-free month and say no to single-use plastics with five simple strategies.

University of Calgary

  1. Stick to sustainable straws

Plastic straws are small, but they’re part of a huge problem — more than 500 million are used and discarded each day in the United States alone.

Say no to plastic straws and either go without or opt for a reusable one. If you don’t have one yet, stop by the bookstore in Mac Hall to get yours today.

  1. Use reusable utensils

Keeping reusable forks, knives and spoons in your bag means that even when you need to buy lunch on the go, you never have a need for plastic utensils.

If you’re organizing an event on campus, request reusable or compostable utensils. Learn more tips to organize plastic-free events with UCalgary’s Sustainable Events Checklist.

  1. Take a pass on plastic bags

On average, Canadians use 2.86 billion plastic bags per year — that’s more than 7.8 million bags per day that pile up and pollute our landfills. Next time you make a trip to the grocery store, invest in a reusable bag or two and keep it in your car or another handy spot so you can take a pass on the plastic.

  1. Buy in bulk

Though they’re plastic, single-use items like stir sticks, condiment packets and coffee creamers can’t be recycled. Avoiding these items or buying full-sized options is a simple way to reduce packaging waste.

Find out more tips and tricks to make your office a plastic-free space with the Sustainable Offices program. 

To learn more about cutting back on single-use plastics and their impact on the ecosystems and biodiversity of our planet, look out for Office of Sustainability volunteers wearing green shirts on July 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Mac Hall and TFDL.

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to become a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.