8 September 2022 | Category: Student life

Ways to be sustainable at Wageningen

By myrka

A definition that I really like for sustainability is the one used by the National Geographic Society, which says that “sustainability is the practice of using natural resources responsibly, so they can support both present and future generations”. In this sense, sustainability is something we do every day.
Sustainability is an important part of the research being done at WUR but it is also a very important part of our lives as students.

Thankfully, Wageningen offers many ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. This post is aimed to help you live your best sustainable life as a WUR student! Below you will find some tips that have helped me in the past year to reduce my carbon and water footprint, and electricity usage, save some money and be a more conscious consumer.



Reduce your animal-products intake*

I will admit that at the beginning this was a bit hard for me, especially coming from a culture where meat and dairy products are served practically daily. However, I have found that there are many options available in Wageningen and now I am very comfy being vegetarian. Most canteens on campus offer vegan/vegetarian options for lunch. In Aurora, you will exclusively find this type of food and let me tell you that it is worth it!

Another option is to cook at home if you have the time. Many supermarkets in Wageningen (and in The Netherlands) have increased their offer for meat and dairy product replacements. You can find them at Jumbo (only 5 minutes from Forum by bike), Lidl and Albert Heijn (both located in Wageningen Centrum).

Rescue food from becoming waste

There are many apps that are focused on reducing waste. My favorite so far is Too Good To Go. This app lets stores and restaurants sell their remaining products at the end of the day or the morning after for a fraction of the price! Amazing right? If you are not that icky and would love to get a lot of bread for only a couple of euros, you can download it in your app store and set your location to Wageningen.
Another app that I frequently use is Olio. Through Olio, you will find other people that are giving away products for free. It could be because they don’t need them anymore, or because they didn’t like them but don’t want to throw them away. I have gotten some very nice, sweet (literally) stuff on there.

Reject single-use plastic containers

Plastic is one of our biggest environmental problems nowadays. Whenever I have the chance, I avoid using it. At WUR there’s an initiative called Billie Cup. The Billie Cup is a drink container that you can get at any canteen on campus. They charge a €1.00 deposit that guarantees no waste AND you get back the deposit when you return the Billie Cup!

For food, there are two stores that I love in Wageningen Centrum. First, De Gieterij which allows me to buy my groceries without plastic packaging! It is also a really cozy shop with super nice mostly organic products. The second one is for the spice fans like me. Kruiden Al Diwan has all sorts of spices and teas that you can get on crystal jars.

Shorten the chain

Another practice that helps reduce our carbon footprint is reducing the transport of food. Every Saturday in Wageningen Centrum, there is a market where locally produced food is sold by farmers from the area. The products are super fresh and delicious. Sometimes you will find some surprise products like chiles poblanos (I know my Mexican fellows will be very happy about this).



Ask your friends if they have the piece you need

Sometimes we still think that it is necessary to buy something new in order to complete our outfits. But that is not true! There are certain pieces of clothing that you can lend from friends. I remember last year; a friend of mine was going out on a date, and she asked if we had some cute shirt options for her. She picked one of mine and returned it to me all clean a couple of days after… when we were talking about her date over a cup of coffee.

Swap clothes with other students

Some student organizations such as the Vegan Student Association (VSA), the Wageningen Environmental Platform (WEP) and Sustainability & Integration (SIWageningen) organize clothing swap events. You take your clothes and exchange them with other Wageningen students. As simple as that!

Buy second hand

When there is nothing that we liked or fits us, then buying second-hand is a good and affordable option. Luckily, we don’t have to go far. Emmaus is one of the most famous second-hand stores in Wageningen. They have a big assortment and surely, you’ll find something. Another one of my faves is Terre de Homes. Besides being affordable and being good for the environment by selling used products, Terre de Homes is part of an association that fights against child abuse, sexual exploitation, child trafficking, and child labor and provides emergency aid.


Look on the Wageningen Student Plaza Facebook group

This group was created by the Wageningen community for the Wageningen community. It is a Facebook group where you can find all sorts of items and get rid of the ones you no longer need.

Do a treasure hunt in Dijkgraaf

The Dijkgraaf building (just outside campus, near Aurora) has a special place in its parking lot where students leave behind the items that they cannot take with them when moving out. You can find free furniture, books, suitcases, chairs, whatever you can imagine a student might have used in their time there.

Unplug your electronic devices

Although electronics are becoming better when it comes to energy saving, we still have little vampires that keep consuming electricity when being plugged in. Whenever you are not using them or are out with your new WUR friends, I would suggest unplugging them and of course, turning off the lights in your room. In this sense, you can avoid wasting electricity. Do not unplug your fridge though! We do not want spoiled food that will go to waste.


Travel and Transportation

Bike, bike, bike everywhere

The Netherlands is the land of the bike! There are 1.7 more bikes in the Netherlands than there are people, can you believe it? Obviously, because of this crazy love for biking, there are bike paths everywhere. You can cycle anywhere in the Netherlands. No emissions and a healthy workout.

Take the train

It is known that flying is very damaging to the environment and contributes to climate change. When we live across the ocean and come from another continent, we don’t have many options left. One of the best things about studying in Wageningen is the many other countries you can visit that are only a couple of hours away by train. Whenever you can, choose to travel by train to decrease your carbon footprint and enjoy the beautiful European landscapes. You can travel internationally for as little as €30.00!

These are the practices that have helped me live a more sustainable life as a Wageningen student. Do you know any others? I would love to know! There’s always room to do a bit more to achieve sustainable development.

*In no sense is this meant as health advice. Please only make changes in your diet if this type of lifestyle works for you. Each body is different and has their own nutrition requirements. An important part of studying is keeping yourself well nourished.

By myrka

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