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Thinking GREEN

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.