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How you can help: Sustainable practices for every day

It’s pretty easy being green; you might be surprised to find that some of your every day practices enhance our sustainability footing. Following are some ideas to get you started.  If you have a good sustainable practice that isn’t on the list, send it to the Sustainability Office at

  • Instead of recycling all of your used office paper, keep some of it for notetaking on the reverse side.
  • Our recycler takes all colors and types of office paper. Please make the effort to recycle this paper in an appropriate bin. If your work area needs a recycling bin, send a note to the Sustainability Office with your contact information and location.
  • If you have a green compost bin in your kitchen, know that you can dispose of paper towels to the compost bin (they cannot be recycled).
  • See “FAQs on Recycling” to get more recycling tips.
  • Help the custodial staff recycle cardboard by flattening boxes, preferably by removing or cutting the tape that holds the box together. Set the flattened box upright near your workstation; the custodians will collect it for recycling.
  • Think about how you might be able to ride share, car pool or take public transit to work. Check out Parking and Transportation Services’ Green Commuter page for ideas. There are a number of subsidies available to encourage the use of alternative transportation.
  • How about getting some exercise with that alternative transportation? Ride your bike to work (don’t forget the helmet)! Several buildings have showers and lockers, and a new bike lock-up has been developed in the fenced area south of the Education Building. Learn more about bike parking options and Green Commuter benefits for cyclists.
  • Help us conserve energy:
    • Turn off your computer at the end of the day. If you have an old, slow-booting machine, you can put it in “standby” mode (one of the options in the “shut down” window) which should let it restart quickly the next day.
    • Make sure your tasks lights are off when you leave for the day, or when you’ll be away from the desk for an extended period of time.
    • Do not use space heaters, fans and similar.
    • If you see an empty conference room with the lights on, take a sec to turn them off.
  • If there is a sink near your work area, bring a fork and spoon from home to use and wash, instead of using disposables all of the time.
  • Think before you toss: there’s a list of items that can be composted and recycled here.
  • Think when you purchase. Make environmental impact part of your purchasing decision. 
  • Many vendor catalogs now indicate “green” items in their catalog.
  • Print and copy double-sided (“duplex”). You can set this up in the “Preferences” area of your print screen.
  • Most of our office paper is 30 percent post-consumer recycled content. All of our leased copiers and printers can use paper that is 100 percent post-consumer content; it costs a tad more, but is better for the environment.
  • Think before you print! Often you can just send somebody a PDF file or similar, or send a blast e-mail instead of printing and distributing hundreds of copies of an announcement.

That should get you started! If you have any great ideas, or if you think being green is so great that you’d like to help others by becoming a Green Advocate, send a note to