What Can You Do?
Explore each category:
- 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. What can I recycle on campus?
- 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.
- Print Wisely. 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 US, 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 health).
- 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 at home.
- Compost Food Waste. If you have an available space at home, compost foot waste to turn it into great soil for your garden.
To view these tips in a complete list, click here.