A group of Langley university students have made efforts to reduce waste and raise awareness for environmentalism.
Last Sunday, April 11, students at Trinity Western – led by a campus environmental club (TWEC) – turned spring cleaning into an outdoor socially distanced used-goods swap exchange.
The result was less waste, more recycling, and funds raised for youth businesses and charitable causes.
“People throw away their junk all the time, [such as] clothing and other essentials, when someone might actually need those,” said Rea Klar, a first-year biology major at TWU and the media manager for TWEC.
“Usually around the end of semester there is a lot of waste,” she said.
For university students like Klar, this month marks the end of the academic year – a time to clean out bookshelves and closets. Inevitably, many items are no longer wanted.
The student-run Swap + Shop event was part of a five-day sustainability week (April 6 to 11) on campus, to encourage students to reuse items and reduce waste.
Arranged in an outdoor parking lot on campus on Sunday afternoon, student vendors sold used clothing, textbooks, re-usable items, and handmade accessories.
Hailee Boks, a third-year media and communications major, was selling vintage clothing from her online store Hazel and Hail Clothing.
Boks started her business to encourage people to reuse clothing “instead of buying from fast fashion brands” because it is “more friendly to the environment.”
A team of three recent alumni, Florence Song (nursing, 2019), Amy Saya (human kinetics, ’20) and Chanhee Park (international studies, ’20), were selling used clothing and handmade accessories to benefit international charities.
One of their projects, dubbed Closet for Ally, is a clothing fundraiser for Ally Global, a Vancouver-based NGO that supports survivors of human trafficking in Nepal, Laos, and Cambodia.
Another project fundraised to help aid relief in Myanmar, through sales of handmade hair scrunchies.
Throughout April’s sustainability week, TWEC shared environmentalism facts, tips, and ideas on social media, focusing on different topics each day from the impact of fast fashion to food waste.
The group also organized volunteer trash clean-up crews to pick up garbage around the community. Students who participated in the clean-up efforts were entered to win gift certificates from Cedar Rim Nursery.
TWEC’s Joshua Anderson said through social media, “Each day we have tons of choices that we can make to be environmentally responsible…or not.”
Here are some practical ways to reduce waste – tips shared by TWEC:
• Keep those pasta jars (and other food jars) and reuse them for saving leftovers, as a cup, or for storing other things;
• Buy bulk items (and store them in those jars);
• Use reusable K-cup pods, or find compostable pods. Return your Nespresso pods to be recycled;
• Avoid single-use cutlery (or single-use take-out containers), and bring your own;
• Drink loose leaf tea (or at least opt for tea bags that are compostable);
• Use silicone mats instead of parchment paper;
• Repair your items before buying new ones (learn to darn, patch, and sew);
According to TWEC, every bit of effort counts.
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is a Christian liberal arts university and fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations, including the main headquarters in Langley, as well as satellite sites in Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, Wash.
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