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Sustainability

Sustainability

Sustainability Tips Archive

Alternative Transportation
Reduce Paper Use via Duplex Printing
Turn Out the Lights
Sandwich Bags vs Plastic Containers
Energy Savings Start at Home
Think Before You Print

Are you aware of the many opportunities that exist for getting to work without driving solo? Parking and Transportation Services offers a wide variety of options from which to choose. Their Green Commuter Program describes carpools, vanpools, public transit, and similar. Many of these opportunities, including vanpool, Regional Transit, and Amtrak, involve a subsidy, which will further reduce your commuting costs. For those participating in carpools or vanpools, there is also a Guaranteed Ride Home, in the event that you or your rideshare partners have an emergency or some other interruption of the usual commute.

With the tremendous variety of shifts worked at UC Davis Health System, setting up some type of ridesharing can be difficult. I hope to work with P&TS to initiate some type of ride-finder bulletin board to assist people in finding potential rideshare partners in their area.

In the meantime, do check out the site to see how you can minimize your commuting footprint.

Reduce Paper Use via Duplex Printing

You may not be familiar with “duplex” printing, but it’s just another term for “double-sided” printing. Most, if not all, of the leased copier/printers are capable of duplex printing, as are many of the smaller H-Ps and such, so the only thing standing in the way of a great paper-saving opportunity could be…you.  And your computer, of course, but the computer is quite willing to do what you tell it to do (Excel being a notable exception…).

Instructions will vary a bit depending on your software and operating system. On my workstation here at the office, here’s the process:

  1. Click on the “start” button, then on “Printers and Faxes”.
  2. Select the printer of interest.
  3. Click on “printer” in the upper right corner of the newly-opened window, then click on “printing preferences”
  4. Click on “Basic”, after which you’ll see the “Duplex” area. 
  5. Click “Print on Both Sides”, and check the “Flip on Long Edge” if you want your pages to read like a book.

You’re done; everything you send to print will come out double-sided, saving lots of paper in the process. If you need to print something single sided, just go to that option in the print section of whatever MS Office program that you are using and √ the single side box.

Given the differences in Operating Systems, software, and printers, your mileage may vary. Some smaller H-P desktop printers need a special part to permit duplexing.  But if you are using one of the larger Kyocera machines, then duplex printing is easy-peasy.

In the immortal words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so.” Your environment will thank you for it.

Turn Out the Lights

Sound familiar?  It should. Mom told you to do it all the time. The old Doors song, “When The Music’s Over”, also implored you to “turn out the lights.” Let’s change that up a little bit to “When The Meeting’s Over, Turn Out The Lights!” I turn the lights out in the conference room outside of our office at least a couple of times a day. This should be easy: last one out of a conference room, turn out the lights.  I’ve asked FD&C to place occupancy sensors in conference rooms and class rooms, but that’ll take some time to accomplish, so it’s up to us in the meantime.

This goes for your work area, too. Many of us use task lighting to augment the frequently unhelpful overhead lights. Please remember to douse the task lights when you leave for the day, or for a long period during the day, like to a meeting (where you will remember to Turn Out The Lights when you leave). Pretend that the lights are on battery power: if you leave them on too long, you’re out of luck.

It’s a simple tip this week: turn out lights that aren’t in use. The electrons you save could be your own!

Sandwich Bags vs Plastic Containers

If you bring your lunch to work, like I usually do, you’re faced with deciding how to safely contain your treats on the commute and during the resting time in the fridge.  Way back when I was a kid, sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper.  For many decades now, the go-to has been the omnipresent plastic sandwich bag, AKA, “Baggie” or “Ziplock” bag.  These are usually single trip containers, being discarded in the trash after use.  Can they be recycled?  Well, sorta, but not if they have a smear of mayo or peanut butter on them, so they generally hit the trash.

How about considering an alternative?

I’ve been using plastic food storage containers at home for quite some time, and it recently dawned on me to use them for my sandwiches, snacks and similar that I haul to work.  They work just fine, and you know the cool sustainability aspect of them?  They’re washable and reusable!  It’s a great way to keep plastic out of the landfill.  Depending on how your dishwasher is set up, it may work out for washing these guys, but keep them away from the heating element!  They’re pretty easy to wash by hand.  I use the containers until they fail, usually indicated by inability to seal/keep the lid on tight; I’d guess I get several dozen uses out of them.  And another cool thing? When they die, they can be recycled.  Just a quick rinse, and into the recycle bin.

One other advantage is how well these containers protect their contents.  You know what happens when an office mate mindlessly throws a six-pack of soda into the fridge, on top of your bagged sandwich, right? There’s a much better outcome if said sandwich is in a plastic container.

I’d call this a win-win.  Make the change today: out with the bags, in with the containers! 

Energy Savings Start at Home

Have you ever wondered if you can do things at home to reduce your energy use and lower your utility bills?  It’s likely that even those of us who think that we are doing a good job can learn a few things about residential energy efficiency.  Fortunately, it is in our utility providers’ interest to help us reduce our energy use, so they provide tools that can help us out.  Check out the information at these links to see what your utility company offers.

 SMUD: https://www.smud.org/en/residential/save-energy/learn-energy-efficiency/index.htm

 PG&E: http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/saveenergymoney/analyzer/index.page

 Roseville: http://www.myenergytips.com/CalcHomeEnergy.aspx?accountID=618

 If your provider isn’t listed, Google your utility with “energy efficiency”, as in “bardsville electric energy efficiency”.  If your provider has a program, this will likely ferret it out.

And once you get this energy efficiency stuff all worked out at home, don't forget to bring your new good habits back to the office with you!

Think Before You Print

 Do you think before you hit the “Print” button?  Or do you figure that if you end up not needing the copy, you’ll just recycle it?  The latter wastes paper, toner, and electricity, and we can do better than that.

Do you print a document just to file it?  Why not just save it electronically on the “S” drive?  It’s well-backed up, and it’s likely easier to find a document there than in some filing cabinet.

Do you print a document just to mail it to someone?  Maybe sending it electronically is just as good.  I’ve found that many regulatory agencies no longer need a hardcopy with wet signature, although others insist on remaining in the dark ages.

Do you do your edits on the monitor, with strikeout and redline (no wite-out, please), or do you prefer to print a document out for edits?  I’ll admit to being old-school here, but I’m trying to retrain myself to do edits on-line.

Save paper, toner, electricity, the environment, and avoid the scorn of your colleagues:

Think Before You Print!

Do something Green today!

JD