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    Food and drinks

    Our dietary habits largely determine our ecological footprint. This makes it all the more important to make these habits sustainable, from purchase to processing.

    Sustainability in the VUB restaurants

    The restaurants at our campuses are pioneers of sustainability at our university. The goals are:

    • Offer healthy, ecologically responsible and affordable meals with less animal protein
    • Participate in honest & local trade of seasonal products
    • Raise sustainability awareness in its guests
    • Save energy and reduce waste-output of daily operations

    Our restaurant takes the lead in sustainability

    How the VUB-restaurants take on the challenge!

    Tip 1: consume less meat

    Less meat and more greens on your plate are a huge step towards more sustainable dietary habits.

    For example, did you know that to produce 200 grams of beef, about 3960 liters of water are needed? In comparison, to produce 300 grams of vegetables, ‘only’ 60 to 100 liters are required.

    If you want to explore the vegetarian restaurants in Brussels (and other Belgian cities), you can use a veggie guide through Brussels (only in Dutch).

    Tip 2: choose locally grown vegetables

    Local food is good food. Not only does it taste better, local and seasonal vegetables also travelled less miles to end up on your plate.

    To get your hands on local, seasonal vegetables, go to one of the bioshops in Brussels.

    Tip 3: choose less processed foods

    The more food is processed, the bigger the distance between the original product and the end-user andthe more energy is being used. Less processed foods are also healthier because they contain more nutrients compared to processed foods.

    Tip 4: don't throw food away

    Throwing food away is not done. Every year between 40 and 60 kilos per person are being thrown away. At the VUB, some students took the initiative to create a foodsharing network, where they share leftovers.

    Volunteering

    Doing your part is always more fun in a group. Organisations like S.E.A., UCOS and the GreenTeam are always looking for like-minded enthusiasts.

    GreenTeam VUB

    GreenTeam is a fixed team of student employees working towards translating the VUB’s sustainability ambitions into practical projects for both students and staff members, like the Green Impact Project. To achieve this goal we collaborate with partners from the VUB en beyond with the city of Brussels as well as incorporating your ideas into our plans of action. At the beginning of the year you can come and meet us during the VUB kick-off market, during the rest of the year you can find us in E.2.08.

    Discover projects of the GreenTeam and participate!


    S.E.A.

    S.E.A. stands for Sociaal Ecologische Activisten (Ecological Social Activists). They are a student organisation with an ecological approach. Their goal: make the university the student community aware of climate change.

    UCOS

    The University Centre for Development Cooperation (UCOS) is an educational NGO affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Erasmus University College Brussels. UCOS stimulates the development of a critical vision among students about global matters, development cooperation and sustainable development.

    Volunteering

    Volunteering expands your mind. At VUB you can do it in a student organisation or as a student representative, but also Brussels offers opportunities to help social organisations and enrich your personality.

    Commit yourself to Brussels

    Volunteering

    A conscious lifestyle

    Need some tips to make your lifestyle more ecologically and socially conscious? You’ve come to the right place. There are many options to use stuff in a more conscious way. You can cut down (reduce) on your purchases; give things a second, third or fourth life (reuse) and recover materials (recycle).

    Tip 1: Sorting waste

    • Avoid the use of aluminium foil. The aluminium boxes of lasagne or pizza plates are stronger and do belong to PMD. Our campuses have several trash bins for recycling. You can separate residual waste from plastic, metal and drink packaging (PMD), paper and cardboard. 
    • Batteries can be disposed in Bebat collecting boxes in the VUB restaurant.
    • Students in VUB housing can dispose small amounts of dangerous waste in the secretariat of their student home. Mind that the waste should be identifiable at any time and, if possible, should keep the original packaging.

      Want to educate your roommates? Download the recyling poster and teach them!

    Tip 2: Collecting projects

    Multiple collecting projects try to empower recycling. Each collected item supports a charity cause.

    Tip 3: Exchange or borrow

    There are many exchange and borrowing options at and around the VUB.

    • A number of giveaway-closets can be found at the VUB such as in the SBC, in building T and at the faculty of LW in building B.
    • Do you need tools for your new closet? No problem, you can borrow tools via Tournevie.
    • You can also exchange clothes at swishing (link in Dutch) events or plants on this facebook page.
    • Finally, you can, of course, also borrow books from the various libraries  in Brussels. There are also bookboxes to be found at Flagey and in the Waversesteenweg.

    Exchanging or borrowing isn’t always possible, so when you need to buy something, keep these tips in mind:

    • Bring a reusable bag and try to buy loose products.
    • Buy ecological and environmentally responsible cleaning products.
    • Go to one of the many packaging-free shops (link in Dutch) in Belgium.

    Tip 4: Study Material

    During your studies you will have to process a lot of paper: articles, slides, notes ... with a few small measures you can reduce that mountain of paper:

    • At VUB Tweedehands Boekenverkoop (link in Dutch), StuBooks (link in Dutch) en OSD Tweedehands Boeken you can buy and sell books that are used in the lectures at the VUB.
    • If you want to look up stuff, use the search engine Ecosia. Their profit goes to planting trees. Therefore, you can contribute to the planting of trees with every search.
    • Advocate with your professors or assistants to submit papers / theses digitally.
    • Try to print only when necessary and print back and forth with Ecofont and draft mode.
    • If you buy a printer yourself, choose a modern, economical printer and use paper with a sustainability label.

    Tip 5: Clothing

    Cotton

    Cotton has a big hidden ecological impact: its production requires a lot of water and is responsible for 25% of the pesticide consumption worldwide. The gigantic plantations have a negative impact on biodiversity.

    Second Hand Campus Etterbeek

    On the FaceBook page Second hand Campus Etterbeek you can buy and sell everything, but clothes are the main topic.

    Good on you

    If you can not find what you are looking for among the huge selection on the second-hand market, it is best to use labels when buying new clothes to ensure that the product was produced sustainably. On the Good On You website, you can easily see which score all your favorite brands achieve in terms of people, climate, environment and animal friendliness. A similar initiative also exists for care and cosmetic products (link in Dutch).

    Sustainable student life

    Parties, activities with your student circle, living in a dorm, it's all part of your student life. Here you can find some tips on how to contribute to the environment when planning these activities.

    Tips for student circles

    Tip 1: Parties and activities

    Does your student circle organize a TD or a cantus? Then do not forget to prepare sufficient sorting options at the start of the activity. You can also always appoint a person (s) who is responsible for cleaning up after your activities. Be sure to also use the reusable cups. You can pick them up for free at the BSG! Washing is not necessary, because we have machines for that. 

    You can also decorate your parties yourself with cardboard that you had left. That is better for the environment and your wallet!

    Tip 2: Eco-responsible

    Our friends from the ULB have one person eco-responsible per circle; just as many circles have a culture manager. So appoint someone in your circle!

    Tip 3: Circle rooms

    Switch off all electrical appliances when leaving the circle rooms! This saves you a lot of energy and can prevent a fire. Furnishing is also possible with furniture from the verniet-pages or one of the many thrift shops in Brussels (link in Dutch)!

    Tip 4: Circle excursion

    Excursions with your circle can be cheaper and more sustainable if they are in Belgium. Students can buy a Youth Multi (Go Pass 10) pass. It’s nice and cheap!

    You can offer vegetarian or vegan meals on your weekend to reduce the price, because meat is a big cost. That also makes it easier because then you only have to provide one meal for different dietary needs.

    Tips for students in a dorm

    Tip 1: Sorting waste

    More information about that here.

    Tip 2 Decorating your dorm 

    Not everything needs to be new to make your dorm cozy. Check out the following tips: 

    • One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That is why you can get a lot of stuff on various facebook pages that others no longer want. For example, you have Brussel Verniet or A donner, A √©changer, A vendre... sur Bruxelles. They are similar to the freecycle-pages. The principle of these pages is simple: you give away something that the other person can use without asking for anything in return.
    • Do you not live in Brussels or do you live elsewhere? Don't worry, almost every region has similar websites. Just a simple internet search should suffice.
    • Visit flea markets! You can find an overview of flea markets in Brussels on the Brocantes. Close to Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus you can find Spullenhulp/les Petis Riens (link in Dutch).

    Tip 3: Reduce your consumption

    You can go a long way by paying attention to water and energy consumption!

    • If you purchase new household appliances, be sure to pay attention to the quality brands.
    • Pull out the plug when not in use.
    • Do you have the feeling that people in the student room or at home often turn on the light? Then visit the Greenteam's office (E2.08) for free stickers!
    • Adjust the thermostat to your rhythm. 
    • Airing is only necessary when you are there. Do not leave windows open when leaving a room.

    Tip 4: Contact Student Housing for help

    • Report leaking taps or toilets and other defects as soon as possible to your landlord or Infradesk.

    Mobility

    No shortage of sustainable transport in Brussels: shared bikes, public transport (train, metro, tram or bus) and carpooling take you everywhere you need to be.

    Discover everything on biking and public transport in Brussels

    Mobility at the VUB

    Around the VUB

    Tip 1: Check out the greenery

    Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus (BHSEC) and Brussels Health Campus (BHC) are purposefully designed as green oases in the Brussels-Capital Region. Enjoy all they have to offer! Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus has a flower meadow and an insect hotel that are definitely worth discovering. Do you want more green? Then you can visit the Ter Kamerenbos which is nice and close to Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus. Brussels Health Campus is also close to the King Baudouin Park.

    Tip 2: Check out the neighbourhood

    Cimeti√®re d’ixelles is not only the  second coolest place in Europe where you can grab a drink with friends, but you can also visit a package-free organic shop, a les petits riens and an Oxfam Worldshop.

    In Brussels

    Tip 1: Sustainable locations

    The city of Brussels made a list with sustainable locations that you can visit. This includes concert halls, museums, meeting rooms, etc. Definitely worth a look.

    Tip 2: Check out your neighbourhood.

    There are plenty of community centers and cultural houses that you can visit in Brussel.

    Tip 3: Parks

    There are planty of parks and squares that you can visit in Brussels. Brussels is one of the greenest capitals within Europe.