fbpx

Sustainability

Introduction

What is the ecological footprint of an exchange? How many resources are we consuming? How can we provide a sustainable project? How can we promote a healthy and active lifestyle?

With the high number of possible future Erasmus+ projects and other activities, it is essential to consider its sustainable vision. This guide encourages you to change your lifestyle and think more ecologically when you apply for the next Erasmus+ project.

In the following document, you will find guidelines that will give you tips and ideas on implementing sustainability at any stage of the project or activity. We have divided them into Travel, Luggage, Accommodation, Catering & Food and Activities.

Travel

  • Consider partnering with countries that are geographically closer to the venue in order to minimize the environmental impact of international travel.
  • Take into account the means of transportation available for participants to arrive at the venue, with a preference for trains,
  • Include no or very little in-project traveling, in which case, prefer walking or biking.
  • Allow more traveling days so traveling with sustainable means of transport can be promoted, for example, using the train.
  • Help participants find the most sustainable options for transport;
  • Make a challenge for the most sustainable traveler or travel group.
  • Allow traveling from places other than home if it’s more sustainable and National Agency allows it (e.g. if participant studies or works in another country different from their home country).

Encourage or advise participants to:

  • Avoid short-distance travel by plane;
  • Avoid layover flights, if possible;
  • Buy tickets in advance, so they don’t sell out.

Luggage

  • In the infopack, include the equipment already available at the venue (e.g. washing machine, shampoos, towels), that way, participants can reduce the number of things they pack.
  • National groups should get together or communicate before the project to organize packing, i.e. bring one item that many can use and share the space in their luggage with other participants. Tip: Create a Google Doc where everyone writes what they will bring.
  • Game idea: group challenge: bring a maximum number (decided by the organizers) of things to the project.

Encourage or advise participants to:

  • Pack according to the weather forecast;
  • Get a sustainable backpack or a suitcase made of recycled materials, only in case the participant does not have one already;
  • Pack efficiently: roll your clothes, use packing cubes, bring travel-size toiletries, put things inside your shoes, wear your pair of shoes that take up the most space, pack plenty of neutral colors, zip your suitcase up, and then add more to it;
  • If possible travel with only hand luggage;
  • Avoid using new plastic bags and use tote bags instead, both while packing and traveling or reuse old ones;
  • Do not buy new things for traveling and for the project if it is not needed.

Accomodation

  • The most significant environmental impact of the Erasmus+ program comes from mobility. Therefore, you should consider choosing a venue with an easily accessible location by public transportation;
  • To compensate for the impact of mobility, you should choose a venue that follows an eco-friendly style as much as possible, meaning:
    • It produces as little waste as possible;
    • If there is waste, it gets either reused, recycled, or composted;
    • It runs on renewable energy;
    • It has as many supplies as possible so that the participants don’t need to bring their own to reduce the size of the luggage they bring (such as hair dryers, towels, shampoos, washing machines, etc.);
    • During the stay, the amount of specific items (such as cups, paper towels, and cutlery) gets reduced to a minimum, and the ones used should be made of nature-friendly materials;
    • If the venue serves food, there should be a vegan/vegetarian option;
    • The energetic efficiency of the building should be as good as possible.
  • The venue should be located in an area with exciting things to do close by in case you want to do an activity that requires you to move. This way, the group can go on foot or bike, and you will minimize public transport usage.
  • Choose the venue size according to the number of participants. The reason is that bigger buildings have a bigger impact on the environment (require more heating etc.).
  • Prioritize local options for accommodation (to support local businesses).
  • Choose the best possible season for organizing a project in the venue, meaning there is no need for heating/cooling systems.
  • Try to be as clean as possible in the venue, so it needs to get cleaned only when necessary.
  • Consider organizing a project in a camp while sleeping in tents or camp houses to reduce the use of electrical energy, water, etc.

Catering / Food

Before the project

  • Make sure that the venue reduces meat consumption by providing more vegetarian/vegan options on their menu.
  • Involve primarily local and seasonal products in the menu, if possible.
  • Suggest that participants bring refillable water bottles instead of using single-use plastic cups and glasses.
  • For intercultural nights, suggest bringing food that is not stored in plastic (they can buy food at a zero-waste shop). You can encourage participants to make the night as sustainable as possible by creating a competition for the most eco-friendly dinner.
  • If you’re planning to bring gifts for participants, make them useful and eco-friendly (reusable water bottles).
  • Include local sponsors to provide bio food products if possible.

During the project

  • Save food by taking only what you need (start with smaller portions of the meal and refill if needed). Compost or share your food with others to avoid further waste.
  • Provide pitches with a water filter if the tap water at the venue is not suitable for drinking.
  • If there is a necessity to buy food or drinks for all participants, make sure to purchase products in bulk to avoid packaging.
  • Check if the venue provides cooking facilities and a fridge for participants – if so, make sure to store leftovers in the fridge.

Activities

  • Outdoor activities – This can seem obvious, but have you ever thought about the differences between having activities in a close place rather than outdoors? First, you can save energy by not using artificial lighting or air-conditioning systems. Following this, the level of Co2 indoors affects the concentration of the people inside. In the end, sports activities should be run outdoors.
  • Hang-out places – A space where participants can hang out during breaks and at night will make them more united as a group. They should be responsible for its maintenance, eventually agreeing on its rules.
  • Tip: with a relatively cheap expense, you can buy (once!) a lot of nice board games and offer them to the participants forever.
  • Ecorules – Discuss and creates eco-rules with the participants during the exchange.
  • Local community involvement – The involvement of natives will give a lot of chances for the project and its results to last in time. Being implemented by the community and hopefully with the support of the local government will result in a deeper root and enormous impact. This can be done from the beginning: by involving youth in topics and actions, they would love to explore, contacting the local government, and asking for the help of volunteers and other stakeholders (social sustainability).
  • The 5R of sustainability – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. In that order! As you can see, even if recycling is a good thing, there are many other levels you can work on before it. At any stage of the project’s organization, various possibilities exist to improve its sustainability. Do not forget to look for the latest technologies and information. They are usually smarter and allow us to save resources and produce better results.
  • Online tools – You can think about using online tools to reduce paper waste and budget. You can use them during the whole duration of the project. It will help you save and archive generated materials for the future.

Online tools

For the workshops

  • Miro – Online collaborative whiteboard platform that enables distributed teams to work effectively together, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and managing agile workflows.
  • Mentimeter – Interactive presentation tool (can be used for quizzes, but also creating polls, Q&A, etc.) 
  • Google Drive – Free cloud-based storage service that enables users to store and access files online
  • Google Jamboard – A digital whiteboard that lets you collaborate in real-time using either a web browser or a mobile app.
  • Padlet – Real-time collaborative web platform in which users can upload, organize and share content
  • Canva – An online design tool that offers users to create posters, slideshows, images, etc.

For the games (fun / educational)

  • Jackbox – An excellent tool for party games.
  • Heads Up – Phone app used for playing charades.
  • Kahoot – A game-based learning platform used as educational technology. Its learning games are user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that you can accessed via a web browser or the Kahoot app.
  • Actionbound – An app for playing digitally interactive scavenger hunts to lead the learner on a path of discovery.
  • Use your words – Similar to Jackbox
  • Codenames – Party card game
  • Slides with – An interactive tool

Report an issue

"*" indicates required fields

For example: https://www.youtheuropa.org/projects/
Feel free to add a screenshot that illustrates the issue. It will help us fix it!
Accepted file types: jpg, png, pdf, jpeg, Max. file size: 5 MB.