May 31, 2019 News, Sustainability Tips


Ever wonder why it’s important to “buy local”? They are words we hear often but can be difficult to understand in a tangible way.

Buying local has social, economic, and environmental benefit and all three are inextricably linked. Let’s look at why.

Economic benefit: In spending a dollar locally, it is more likely to pass through a greater number of hands (at a local level), thereby increasing the benefit within the community each time it does. When a dollar is spent outside of the community, the local benefit essentially stops with a single purchase.

A case study by LOCO BC (2013) has shown that local purchasing can re-circulate up to 33% of revenue directly to residents and businesses in B.C, compared to 17% and 19% from multinationals.

When you buy locally, more money is likely to stay within the community.

Social benefit: Locally owned businesses are often more invested in a community and more dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with its members. Important social hubs within a community commonly develop around the physical space provided by these businesses. By purchasing locally, there is also increased transparency in the social effects on those involved in an item’s production and transportation – this is much less clear when purchasing from a multi-national company or through online platforms.

Local businesses help build community.

Environmental benefit: Similarly to the social benefits, buying locally provides increased transparency in the resource and waste management practices associated with an item’s production and transportation. If you have questions about a particular product, it’s much more likely to be answered by a small business owner where the supply chain is shorter and less complicated. The presence of smaller stores in communities allows people to walk and drive shorter distances. Local businesses are also likely to use less land, and more likely to support other local businesses in their purchasing of good and services. These greatly reduce the greenhouse gas production associated with the transportation of goods, a major contributor.

Local purchasing can decrease environmental impact and provide increased environmental transparency. 

Keeping items and funds in the local community supports the local economy while substantially decreasing the social and environmental impact of purchasing goods.

When we make a purchase, it’s important to think about where that money will go after we’ve spent it.



Have lots of clutter building up at home? Have you thought about hosting a table at the Community Yard Sale?

Reasons to host a table:

  • Get rid of clutter
  • Recover some of an item’s purchasing cost
  • It’s a fun activity for kids
  • Meet your neighbours
  • Contribute to the community by making usable, quality items accessible to your neighbours (so they don’t have to go out a buy brand new ones)
  • Support the circular economy and reduce the consumption of valuable resources and the production of emissions

For more information, visit

When you purchase an item second-hand, it is close to “zero-impact”, as no new resources were required for its production or transportation.



Student Computer Repurposing Aid Program (SCRAP) is a newly launched program, funded by UTown@UBC. This youth-led program takes in computers (collected at the Green Depot), disassembles them, and reassembles the component into working computers, which are then donated to those in need.

Book Drive and Sale

The UNA-Utown@UBC Youth Leadership Group hosts a Book Sale every first and third Saturday of the month at Wesbrook Community Centre. Books are collected throughout the week at the same location. All funds collected from the drive are donated to the Variety Children’s Charity.

UBC Free Store

THE UBC Free Store is a student-run program that provides a space for people to leave items they don’t want or need. These items are then free for anybody to take!

8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
The Nest (UBC Campus), Room 2102

Rental Programs

The more people who share an item – the less impact it has! More and more rental programs are arising that replace the need for individually owned goods, especially ones that are infrequently used.


During your child’s annual locker and desk clean-out – make sure to save all usable school supplies!

  • Re-use or donate all school supplies (old binders, pencil cases, extra note paper, pens and pencils)
  • Empty pens and markers? Recycle them at the Green Depot!
  • Recycle all used class notes and notebooks 
  • Host a supplies drive at your school
  • Ask your children’s teachers what they are doing to prevent unnecessary waste at the end of the school year


Reminder: The UBC Farm market opens on June 1!

The UBC Farm is as local as it gets – and is one of the amazing perks of living in the UBC Community. The Farm market runs all summer every Saturday,10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Check out the farm website for more info.

Asparagus Fennel Potatoes
Beets Garlic Radish
Broccoli Kale Rhubarb
Carrots Lettuce Spinach
Cauliflower Mustard Greens Swiss Chard
Celery Peas White Turnips
Cucumber Peppers Zucchini


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