Refuse & Reduce

Campus Sustainability Office

A Guide to On-Campus:

  • NO plastic bags at our Bookstore. Reusable bags are available for $2.
  • We DO NOT sell bottled water. There are water bottle refill stations at every water fountain, so please bring your reusable bottle. 
  • ALL straws on campus are COMPOSTABLE, but we encourage people to refuse them if they are able to do so.
  • We encourage people to bring their own reusable containers for take-out boxes or to eat-in on-campus to reduce waste from our cafeterias...

ALL coffee cups from on-campus are COMPOSTABLE! 

  • Tim Horton's and Starbucks cups are NOT recyclable. 
  • To save money and all the confusion... Please BRING YOUR OWN mug.Instructions on where to dispose of beverage cups

A Word about Beverage Cups...

Best of all

    • We recommend a reusable mug. This is the best way to minimize resource use in the manufacturing and processing of disposable beverage items. 

Diversity Foods

    • Diversity food services at the University of Winnipeg provides compostable beverage cups, lids, sleeves, and stir sticks. Please dispose of these items in the compost bins on campus. 

Other Vendors (Starbucks, Tim Hortons, etc.)

    • Cups from other vendors, such as Starbucks and Tim Hortons, should be disposed in waste/landfill bins.
    • Plastic lids and stir sticks from these vendors should also go into the landfill.
    • Paper sleeves can be disposed of in compost

Below are some tips to reduce resource use and improve sustainability:

General Guidelines for Sustainable Purchases

  • Reconsider whether or not you need to purchase something – maybe you already have something similar, or could purchase the item second-hand.
  • Purchase items that will last a long time.
  • Consider what will happen to the product you purchase once it is worn out – purchase products that are compostable first, then recyclable. Recycling products requires energy and resources.
  • Avoid buying products that will become toxic waste.
  • Consider packaging when making purchases – avoid over-packaged products.
  • Learn to distinguish greenwashing from valid environmental claims. Familiarize yourself with common, trustworthy certifications. Always read the label – don’t take the companies’ word for it.





  • Bring food from home and use reusable containers.
  • Compost your food waste.
  • Support Diversity Food Services. They have made a commitment to sustainability by supporting our compost and recycling programs, provides reusable and compostable take out options and by sourcing local foods, organic foods, and fairly traded foods.
    • Fun fact: Diversity operations at UWinnipeg continue to be recognized (since 2015) as the most sustainable food & dining service available on any Post-Secondary campus in Canada by the AASHE STARS program.
    • If you use take-out containers from Diversity, remember to put them in a compost bin once you’re finished.

At Home:

  • Shop locally by visiting farmers' markets, the local sections in grocery stores or participate in a food box program.
  • Choose organic or sustainably grown foods whenever possible.
  • Reduce meat and dairy consumption.
  • Compost your food waste.
  • Minimize the packaging your food comes in - buy in bulk, do not use disposable dishes.




On Campus:

  • Support the University’s efforts to keep bottled water off campus – use a refillable water bottle.

At Home:

  • Drink tap water, avoid bottled water.
  • Turn off taps when not in-use and install low-flow water fixtures.
  • Consider using xeriscaping techniques in your yard to reduce your water consumption for irrigation purposes.




  • Remember to turn off the lights, computers, and monitors, and unplug them at the end of the day.
  • Use powerbars, and remember to unplug small appliances at the end of the day. 10% OF YOUR ENERGY COMES FROM PHANTOM POWER - this means from appliances that are kept plugged in when they are not being used!
  • When making purchasing decisions, try to find an energy efficient model (e.g., Energy Star). Although it may cost a bit more initially, you’ll save on your energy bills in the near future.
  • Learn about energy justice and sustainable energy options.



Cleaning & Air Quality

Green cleaning logos

  • Bee Clean uses mostly green and natural products here, on campus. If you need additional cleaning products for your office or at home many cleaning products can be made naturally and with reusable spray bottles. Please visit the links below for a list of home-made cleaning products presented by the David Suzuki Foundation & the Queen of Green.
  • Follow the University Scent Free Guideline. Choose scent free products and avoid wearing perfumes or colognes when you will be on campus. Some people are sensitive to the chemicals in fragrances and perfumes and they can become ill.
  • Avoid scented products like room sprays, electrical outlet fragrance plug-ins, or other synthetic fragrances.
  • If you smoke please be respectful and smoke away from doorways and off of campus property.




At Home:

  • Reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides and herbicides in your yard.
  • Use finished compost to add nutrients and soil to your flowerbeds, gardens, or grass.
  • Use indigenous plants. They require less maintenance and will look beautiful.
  • Consider xeriscaping – landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation.
  • Use a manual push mower – reduce your GHG emissions and get a workout at the same time!
  • Leave grass clipping and dead leaves on your yard to return the nutrients to the soil. If you’d rather rake, reserve your clippings and put them into your compost.



Contact the UWinnipeg Purchasing Department if you have questions about which purchasing choices are better than others when shopping for your office.

More great information is available through the Green Office Program