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More sustainability tips for home, school, and work
At Home or in the Halls
- Begin transitioning to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs.
- Turn off unnecessary electrical devices when you leave a room for more than 15 minutes.
- If possible, enable your computer to go into "sleep mode" when not in use.
- Do not leave computers on all night.
- Unplug appliances and electronics whenever you leave for an extended time.
- Unplug cell phone charger when charging is complete.
- Use natural light rather than electric whenever possible.
- Lower window shades at night in the winter and during the day in the summer as an additional insulating measure.
- Use wired phone for land line, instead of cordless.
- Turn off and defrost refrigerator over long breaks.
- Use mugs and plates that you can wash rather than disposable ones.
- Dispose of leftovers and recycle your pizza boxes.
- Reuse envelopes, advertisements, and previously used paper for notes.
- Buy a water filter and refill a reusable container instead of buying cases of bottled water.
- Share magazines and books.
In the bathroom
- Take shorter showers; shorten run time by using hottest setting to speed up hot water, lower temp before getting in.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving.
- Report leaky faucets and showerheads and running toilets.
- Don't use the toilet as a garbage bin. Toss tissues and waste in trash cans.
In the laundry room
- Wash laundry at the maximum capacity of the appliance.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Air-dry clothes whenever possible.
- Use products containing the least amount of bleaches, dyes, and fragrances.
In the classroom
- Use your laptop, and limit the use of bound notebooks.
- Use recycled paper.
- Take notes on both sides of paper.
- Think before you print, and print both sides when possible.
- Limit your use of elevators and accessible door openers.
In the laboratory
- Never pour hazardous chemicals down the drain.
- Use as small an amount of chemicals as possible by following instructions and being exact when measuring out starting materials.
- Reuse cleaning solvents such as acetone and alcohol for initial cleaning of dirty glassware, using fresh solvent for the final rinse only.
- Prepare chemical waste for disposal as per instructions in the hazardous waste management program.
- Carefully follow provided waste minimization and disposal instructions.
- Redesign experiments to minimize hazardous chemical waste and to replace toxic reagents with less hazardous substances.
- Order reagents in exact amounts to avoid leftovers.
- Distill and recycle solvents for use in demonstrations.
- Make sure chemicals are clearly and properly labeled.
In the art and photography studio
- Use nontoxic, biodegradable art supplies.
- Replace oil-based paints with water-based paints.
- Modify spray-painting techniques to minimize over-spraying.
- Use biodegradable, nontoxic cleaners.
- Minimize use of cleaning solvents for brush cleaning by reusing dirty solvents for first rinse and fresh solvents for final rinse only.
- Clean brushes with lavender oil instead of turpentine.
In the dining hall
- Take advantage of recycling opportunities in the dining hall.
- Carry a reusable cup or water bottle.
- Use filter pitchers/bottles if you're worried about the quality of the tap water.
- Limit the use of paper napkins.
- Only take what you will eat to limit food waste.
- Do not remove reusable plates, bowls, cups, utensils, or other supplies from the dining facilities.
- Dispose of waste in the correct container.
In the store
- Carry a tote bag for shopping so you don't have to use a plastic bag.
- Purchase durable rather than disposable products.
- If you get a plastic bag, reuse it.
- Buy "second hand" when possible.
- A little creativity goes a long way toward making used furniture useable.
- Buy recycled products, such as paper, and get environmentally safe cleaning products.
In the workplace
- When you print or photocopy, use both sides of each sheet of paper.
- Save the backs of old papers and misprints to print out drafts and other things you don't have to turn in.
- When possible, use your printer's low-quality setting to save ink.
- Bookmark web pages instead of printing them for research.
- Edit on screen, not on paper. Use "Print Preview".
- Use e-mail, "Print to File", and thumb drives to minimize paper use.