On this page you can find some tips for students, employees, and everyone else on how to live a little more sustainably in Olomouc. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the planned events on the Sustainable University homepage – or contact us directly and we’ll find a way for you to get involved.
The Freeshop has been operating in Olomouc since May 2017. It was founded by the student organisation Sustainable Palacký to help reduce unnecessary waste, which most often accumulates at the end of each semester when students leave their halls of residence. Items that used to end up in dustbins tend to be still functional and perfectly usable. The paradox is that at the beginning of the next year, new students buy the same items, creating a huge waste of money and natural resources. The freeshop works on the principles of community sharing and circular economy. What is not good for one person can still be great for another! The most common deposited items are dishes, pots, clothes, and books. Students can take anything from the Freeshop for free or leave a donation.
Address: J. L. Fischer Dormitory, Šmeralova Street 1116/10, Olomouc
Free Food UPOL is a public Facebook group offering UP students and staff the opportunity to share food. It aims to reduce food waste and loss. Members of the group can offer any food they would otherwise throw away. Those interested in sharing food usually respond within a few minutes. Even food with a short shelf life or a spare portion of dinner can be used.
Václavka Community Garden
The Václavka Community Garden was established by the Sustainable Palacký Association at the end of the 2015/2016 academic year. It is located in the atrium of the Bedřich Václavek dormitory and is the first student community garden in the Czech Republic. Its main goal is to show that food can be grown in the city. Students can pick various herbs for tea or cooking, as well as vegetables. Direct experience with growing is rare today, nonetheless very important. Another goal of the garden is to strengthen and liven up the student community. Thanks to the garden and several other improvements in the premises, the atrium has become a popular place to meet, relax, barbecue, and study. During the academic year, the Sustainable Palacký Association also organises various events in the Václavka garden, such as student breakfasts, concerts, and the popular Christmas Punch. The project was realised in cooperation with UP Accommodation and Dining.
Sustainable Olomouc Map
Palacký University students of the Master’s programme in Andragogy came up with the idea to create an Ecomap. They became aware of an abundance of businesses offering alternatives to consumer goods in Olomouc, so they deemed it useful to create a platform that would help people to find their way around. On the map you will find packaging-free shops, second-hand shops including bookshops, as well as marketplaces and local food shops.
You’ve certainly been there: throat dry as the Sahara desert, you took the water bottle out of your backpack. Not a drop left. What could you do? You walked into a couple of restaurants and cafés nearby, but when asked if they could refill your bottle, the answer was always, “No, we can’t do that.” At that point you had no choice but to go and buy yet another plastic bottle of water. However, with each additional bottle purchased, more and more waste is being generated. The Sustainable Palacký Association decided to do something about it, and created the Re:Fill project as part of the competition called University to City. The project’s aim is to find and mark the places where you can have your water bottle refilled. Today, the project includes not only businesses in Olomouc but all over the Czech Republic. You can find them on this map or in the streets of your city, where all you have to do is look for the drop-shaped sticker on the doors of the businesses. One of them is the university shop UPoint on Olomouc’s Upper Square.
REcup is a Czech and Slovak system of returnable cups and bowls for takeaway food and drinks. Approximately 450 million disposable coffee cups are consumed in the Czech Republic and Slovakia every year. That is a lot of waste that cannot be recycled and a lot of resources that end up in landfills or incinerated. Each REcup can replace up to 400 disposable cups and even after its usefulness it can be reused as a recyclable resource. How does it actually work? Simply go to any REcup café and order a takeaway coffee in the returnable cup. Pay a refundable deposit of 50 CZK/2 EUR. You can enjoy your coffee, lemonade, or even ice cream in this cup. After use, just return the REcup to any of the participating businesses and collect your deposit back. Returnable cups and bowls are used at more than 360 partner businesses in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Olomouc, 25 businesses are currently involved in the project, including the FreshUPuniversity bistros. More can be found on this cup map.
Life without cars
Living in Olomouc has many advantages. One of them is undoubtedly the fact that everything is relatively close and you can get around comfortably without a car. While there are some disadvantages to this lifestyle, there are also many advantages, although some may not be obvious at first glance. Therefore, since 2017, a team from the Department of Psychology at the UP Faculty of Arts has been conducting research to investigate what factors influence the choice of transport mode, transport habits, and thus even the lives of citizens of Olomouc and the surrounding area. Why do we sometimes choose to ride a bike and sometimes to drive a car? How can we encourage more sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling, and public transport? Why does the habit of using the car even for short distances in fact limit our freedom? For answers to these questions and tips on how to live without a car, visit the research website.
Walking Olomouc is a portal run by the Department of Psychology at the UP Faculty of Arts. It enables informing City of Olomouc management of the problems we encounter as pedestrians on our journeys through the city. Reported problems are displayed on the portal and at the same time sent to contact persons at the town hall and other institutions. You can monitor how many people are concerned about similar problems, which places in the city are the most problematic, and how the town hall and other responsible institutions are dealing with the problems.
Olomouc Sorts Waste
Are you wondering where to throw away a torn T-shirt or a bagful of beer cans in Olomouc? Are you curious where all that carefully sorted waste goes next? Then visit the portal Olomouc Sorts Waste, where you can find all the information (in Czech) about waste management in Olomouc, especially about where to take different types of waste, which Saturdays are scheduled for bulky waste collection, or what kind of waste is hazardous and should be taken to recycling sites. The portal also includes a map of how waste is transported, a brochure on waste management, and a series of spots called "The Wasters".
In addition to the Václavka Community Garden, there are other opportunities in Olomouc where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables and meet like-minded people. One of them is Za()hrada a/k/a Gard()den – a community garden at 26 Pekární Street by the gate of the openair cinema. A few years ago, this garden injected life into a previously unused space at Olomouc’s historic ramparts, and since then it has also hosted lectures, workshops, screenings, and other social events that seek to connect environmental thinking, arts, and activism. If you want to join this collective of gardeners, one of the raised beds can be yours.
Bike (and scooter) sharing
If you don’t want to buy a cheap bike in one of Olomouc’s secondhand shops, you can take the path of shared micromobility. Shared bikes are offered by Rekola and Nextbike, scooters by Eagle, Bolt, and Lime with Uber. You can use them all year long and not only around campus. Just remember to be considerate of pedestrians and follow the traffic rules. You can brush up on both in the Five Rules of Good Driving.
Thanks to the cooperation with Nextbike, UP students and employees can take advantage of a better price for annual or monthly subscriptions and also receive bonus credit for registration. More information in this post (in Czech).
Environmental organisations in Olomouc
If you want to get actively involved in nature conservation, either in Olomouc or in its surroundings, you can become a member of one of the local organisations that operate in this area:
ČSOP Arion is an organisation under the Czech Union for Nature Conservation, which operates in the Olomouc and Pardubice regions. Its mission is to protect and restore natural and cultural heritage, to promote environmental education, and to raise public awareness. You can give them a donation (financial or material), become a volunteer, a member, inform them of endangered species and sites in your area, or even buy a birdhouse…
Hnutí DUHA (The Rainbow Movement) – Olomouc local group is one of the eight branches of the national environmental organisation Hnutí DUHA. It operates in the Olomouc, Zlín, and Moravian-Silesian regions. It deals, among other things, with the protection of the landscape, urban greenery, and large animal predators. The movement welcomes both financial support and new volunteers.
Volunteering and Blood Donation
Sustainability relates to nature and environmental protection as well as to social issues and responsible living in society. Therefore, we should strive to provide equal opportunities for all, to care for the community, and to help those around us. How? You can volunteer through the UP Volunteering Centre and help others not only at the university but also in partner organisations. You can donate your free time – but you can also donate your blood. In cooperation with University Hospital Olomouc we encourage you to do so within the campaigns Donate Blood with the Rector and Roll Up Your Sleeve.