Green Christmas

On Nov. 23 and 24, the EcoHawks established their annual Green Store in the Concourse to promote the sales of eco-friendly and sustainable products as the holiday season approaches. Featuring several local companies, the EcoHawks’ event also provided free gift-wrapping using re-used newspapers and magazines.

“The holiday season is coming up [and] people have the option of buying more sustainable products and services while supporting local businesses and the local economy,” said Ericha Regio, EcoHawks co-ordinator.

Regio explained that the EcoHawks were providing gift-wrapping with newspapers “to promote not buying as [much] gift-wrapping because that’s not really good for the environment.”

She also suggested that students reuse gift bags or other paper since gift-wrap is often unable to be recycled due to the glaze and sparkles that coat the paper.
Greentainers was one of the companies with a booth at the Green Store. Alana Vigna, an EcoHawks volunteer, explained that Greentainers was an initiative brought forward by an EcoHawks volunteer that works with the company’s founders in Toronto.

A “greentainer”, according to Vigna, is a far more environmentally friendly product than your standard Tupperware. “It’s BPA free, lead free [and] 100 per cent recyclable,” she said, highlighting that those harmful chemicals that can leach in to food are not a risk with the product.

Another booth sold jewelry, featuring handmade, natural products brought from Kenya through the Mully Children’s Foundation. EcoHawks volunteer Mabel Wong explained, “The organization itself is orphanage where there are multiple projects for development, like health care, food programs, education.”

“The jewelry is made in Africa by the women and children [and] the jewelry they make is their [source of] income,” she added.

In addition to buying eco-friendly, Regio provided tips for being environmentally
friendly this holiday season and suggested that students should consider re-gifting items that they have and don’t use. Despite the taboo of re-gifting, she explained that it is far better than throwing out unused products.

Buying power

The sustainability office utilized the event of the Green Store to show off the campus sustainability assessment that was compiled by sustainability coordinator Sarah English.

English, explaining the university’s green purchases, said, “About 40 per cent of the university’s cleaning products are Green Seal certified, a third-party certifying agent that looks at the environmentally friendliness of certain products.”

Her other findings presented in the assessment included the use of recycled paper across campus and the purchasing of local and organic products by food services.

“The last major area that we’re moving on is computers and laptops. About 80 per cent of what we purchase are energy efficient, again recognized by a third party called EPEAT,” said English.

Highlighting the influence the university has in purchasing green products, English said, “If the Laurier opts to purchase eco-friendly products we can affect supply change further down the line because of the massive amounts of products we buy in bulk.”

“There’s a lot of purchasing power … and I think Laurier should use it,” she said.