Get Your Green On!
THINK ABOUT YOUR INFLUENCE:
You have many opportunities at your workplace to reduce
consumption of materials. For example, if you work in a retail
store and a customer is buying a pair of socks, ask them if they
need a bag instead of automatically giving them one. If you work
in an office and want to send a memo or newsletter, do it
electronically instead of using paper. Think of all the wasteful
practices in your workplace and act to correct them.
When selecting equipment and products, select those that
minimize water and energy use and generate the minimum amount of
waste products, including wastewater. When contracting services,
select vendors who have incorporated sustainability into the
services they provide, including the products they use and the
means by which they manage waste products resulting from the
services they perform.
You use less paper, toner and ink by printing double-sided
documents. Many SU printers are capable of double-sided printing
and those that aren't can still have a lower impact if you print
two-up (two pages per sheet). Find directions for double-sided
and two-up printing here:
Double-sided and Two-up Printing Instructions (PDF)
REDUCE CHEMICAL USAGE:
Purchase chemical products that are
"environmentally-friendly," that is non-hazardous, whenever
possible. Only buy the quantity needed. Unused chemicals make up
the majority of the hazardous waste requiring disposal. If you
are not responsible for making these purchases, talk to the
person that is.
BE A ROLE MODEL:
People constantly learn from their surroundings. If you model
sustainable behavior, others will follow your lead. "Be the
change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
TURN IT OFF:
Turn off lights, lamps, computers, printers, TVs, radios and any other
equipment when not in use.
Many electronics such as TVs, computers, cell phone chargers, electric
razors, etc. still use power when they are plugged in. If you have a second
refrigerator, consolidate food into one refrigerator and unplug the other.
USE NATURAL LIGHT:
If you don't need lights, don't turn them on.
USE TASK A LIGHT:
Read by a lamp instead of lighting an entire room.
Replace all frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs
(CFLs), which use about 25 percent of the energy that incandescent bulbs use.
Air Condition Naturally:
When it is cooler than 80°F outside, open two windows, one at the highest
point of your house and the other on the shady side of the ground floor. This
will create a natural airflow through your house. Also, cover your south-facing
windows with light colored shades or blinds to reduce solar heat gain.
Since ceiling fans use only about as much electricity as a light bulb, they
use about two percent of the electricity of a central air system.
AIR CONDITION WISELY:
If the heat and humidity is too much to be handled through natural
ventilation and with the use of fans, then the air conditioner should be used.
Set the temperature to 78°F and close all windows. Turn the A/C off or set the
temperature higher when you leave the house.
USE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT:
This way you can avoid running the A/C or heat during the day when nobody is
home but set the system to turn on before you get home.
In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F. Set it cooler at night and when
nobody is home. Make sure windows, doors and any other openings are shut
tightly; if you feel cool air coming in from outdoors, fix it!
Whether it is winter or summer, insulation will protect you from wasting
unnecessary amounts of energy and keep your home more comfortable.
TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS:
This will not only save on water but it saves on the tremendous amount of
energy required to heat water.
WASH DISHES BY HAND:
If you don't have many dishes to do, wash them by hand. If you use the
washing machine, set it to the low power and low water modes and only use it
when it is full.
Wash clothes only when they need to be washed and only run full loads. Use
cold or warm water instead of hot, which will save on energy. Hang dry your
clothes as much as possible. To get that stiff feeling out, throw your clothes
in the dryer for five minutes.
WATER PLANTS IN THE MORNING:
Water outdoor plants only when necessary and only during the cool part of the
morning. When you water during the hottest part of the day, 90 percent of the
water can be lost through evaporation.
KEEP THE GRASS LONG:
Set your lawnmower to the highest setting to keep your grass longer. Doing so
keeps the soil shaded which prevents moisture from evaporating and keeps the
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT:
A bus requires much less energy per person than a single-occupancy
RIDE A BIKE:
The bicycle remains the most efficient form of personal transportation ever
invented and, of course, it uses no fossil fuels!
IF YOU DRIVE, DRIVE LESS:
Even if you get 60mpg, you still burn gas by driving. Plan trips and errands
to make each trip in your car most productive.
It takes a tremendous amount of energy to rapidly accelerate 2,000 lbs of
steel, glass, and rubber. Save gas and reduce harmful emissions by accelerating
DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT:
Most vehicles get the best gas mileage around 55mph. Every mile per hour
above 55 requires increasingly more fuel since wind resistance becomes the
Tire pressure is very important to fuel economy. Inflate your tires to the
maximum PSI listed on the sidewall of the tire instead of what is listed by your
auto manufacturer. The ride might be a bit stiffer than before, but you will
have much less rolling resistance.
MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE:
Changing your oil, replacing the air filter and doing all the other
recommended maintenance will keep your car running efficiently and help it last
longer. Washing and waxing even helps cut down wind resistance, but do not wash
your car during drought conditions.
Do Not Use Disposables:
Always use a ceramic plate, glass and silverware when dining in. There are
times when polystyrene containers are the only options. You might consider
bringing your own reusable container instead.
When given the option "or here or to go," reduce unnecessary waste by
TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU WILL EAT:
This is an easy way of reducing consumption and saving some money!
EAT LESS MEAT:
The average American eats enough meat to get the amount of protein
recommended for Olympic athletes. A meat-intensive diet is hard on the
environment because livestock require lots of land area and resources to grow.
Many large livestock operations also release harmful pollutants to our
waterways. Locally, these pollutants are having a detrimental effect on the
For your own sustainability, eat well-balanced meals. If everything on your
plate is the same fried-food brown, then you need to make a change.
USE LESS STUFF:
Purchasing environmentally-friendly products is good, but not purchasing
fewer products is significantly better. Focus your shopping on needs instead of
Shopping online eliminates your need to drive to a store. However, be careful
not to purchase goods that must travel a long way to get to you.
Buy Local Goods:
From office equipment to vegetables, buy products that are produced locally.
Doing so promotes a healthy local economy and reduces fuel consumption from the
transportation of goods.
AVOID EXCESSIVE PACKAGING.
BUY IN BULK:
Buying products that are packaged in larger quantities reduces the use of
packaging material, but only buy what you will use.
REUSE FOIL AND PLASTIC BAGGIES.
AVOID #5 PLASTIC:
The recycling process for #5 plastic is less efficient than other plastics.
Because of the relative inefficiency, many recycling plants do not accept #5
BRING A BAG:
Use reusable bags or a backpack at the grocery store to avoid using plastic
bags. The U.S. uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags per year. That's roughly
333 bags per year per person - nearly a bag per day! Some places give you a
discount for bringing your own bag.
RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS:
Return any plastic bags you have to the grocery store to be recycled.
BUY RECYCLED MATERIALS:
If society recycles, yet doesn't use the recycled material, the benefits of
recycling stop with diverting trash from the landfill. The benefits of producing
from recycled material are lost. Buying products made from recycled material
will close the recycling loop. It will also make recycling more cost-effective.
BUY ENERGY STAR PRODUCTS:
Look for the Energy Star logo on products such as light bulbs, windows, TVs
and air conditioners. Energy Star products might cost a little more upfront, but
they use significantly less energy than non-Energy Star products.
BUY A MORE FUEL EFFICIENT CAR:
When it is time to replace your vehicle, buy a car that suits your needs and
is fuel efficient. Some hybrid cars today get around 60mpg and many "standard"
models get 40 mpg.
SUPPORT STATE AND NATIONAL PARKS/FORESTS:
Your entrance fees to parks helps fund conservation projects.
GO TO AN ECO TOURISM DESTINATION:
Eco tourism is a small but growing industry that addresses all three aspects
of sustainability. Nations that would rely on clear cutting, mining or other
environmentally harmful practices to make money are deciding to preserve their
natural landscapes to attract tourism. Money that comes in from tourism provides
locals with employment and education opportunities while giving the national
government financial incentive to maintain and even enhance ecosystems.
RECYCLING SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT:
We too often think of recycling as an ultimate sustainable task. Always
remember, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is an order of processes. Reducing the amount of
stuff you use should be the first priority.
PRINT ONLY IF NECESSARY:
You know to recycle paper, but what you might not know is that the quality of
paper degrades each time it is recycled. Each time paper is recycled, the tree
fibers are made smaller. After paper is recycled several times, the fibers are
too small to make new paper. Thus, you are not in the clear if you recycle all
your paper, yet you use it excessively.
PRINT DOUBLE SIDED:
and Two-up Printing Instructions (PDF))
Be mindful of how much paper you will use when printing and adjust your
document accordingly. Cut down the margins. Print single or 1.5 spaced. Delete
text you do not need.
DRINK TAP WATER INSTEAD OF BOTTLED WATER:
In the U.S., tap water is regulated by the EPA and perfectly safe to drink.
In fact, many bottled water companies actually just fill their bottles with
clean tap water. Getting your water from water bottles increases plastic use,
plus fuel was burned to transport the water bottles to a store. The only small
risk of drinking tap water is, if you live in a house with old plumbing, small
amounts of lead can leach from the water pipes into the water. In this case, buy
a water filter to remove the lead.
USE RAGS INSTEAD OF PAPER TOWELS:
If you need to use a paper towel, rinse it and reuse if possible (do not
reuse the paper towel if it was contaminated with something that could risk your
USE REUSABLE CUPS INSTEAD OF DISPOSABLE CUPS:
Paper comes from trees, and paper cups end up in a landfill. Although a
reusable coffee mug will need to be washed, using water, the production of paper
cups uses water as well. Paper cups are non-recyclable because of food
contamination and the plastic coating.
RECYCLE EVERYTHING YOU CANNOT REUSE:
Place all of your paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum cans in the
recycling bins around campus. Find out what your county or city lets you recycle
COMPOST FOOD WASTE:
If you have an available space at home, compost foot waste to turn it into
great soil for your garden.