What U can do
We all play a part! Here are some things you can do to help:
Look for recycling bins! The library has recycling bins located throughout public and staff spaces. The University recycles Paper, Aluminum, Plastics #1-2, and Cardboard all over campus. Batteries can be recycled on level 2 in the Knowledge Commons. Departments can contact Campus Environmental Health & Safety for additional information regarding battery disposal and recycling.
Take the Pledge! The Office of Sustainability's Pledge provides you with an opportunity to commit to actions that will make the world better for you and future generations by living more sustainably.
Consider these tips from the American Library Association when you use your printer at work: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/green-your-library/you-press-print-button-consider
Dispose of personal electronics properly and safely! Watch the University calendar each spring for the annual E-Waste / Electronic recycling event. Each year the University of Utah hosts an e-waste drop off event for campus and the surrounding community and collects a large variety of personal items from old TVs and microwaves, to floppy disks and cable wires. All e-waste is responsibly recycled. Previous years this has been done by Metech, a certified e-steward company. You can learn more about electronics disposal at http://www.ban.org. Community information can also be found at the city’s sustainability website: http://www.slcgreen.com
Remember, University equipment must be retired through University Surplus and Salvage. Information can be found at: http://fbs.admin.utah.edu/surplus/
Go Utes! Like to go to football games? A group of ASUU students are gathering support for greater recycling at Rice-Eccles stadium. Please visit the link below and consider adding your voice to the effort. Every game 8 tons of waste is produced and none of it is recycled. Information can be found at: http://www.recyclericeeccles.com/
Looking to buy something new? 10 key questions to say “yes” to before purchasing a product:
- Is this product needed?
- Is this product non-toxic and safe to use?
- Is the product practical, durable, well made, and of good quality?
- Is the product made from renewable, recycled or post-consumer materials?
- Does the manufacturer practice sound sustainable manufacturing and fair trade practices?
- After the products useful life can it be recycled, composted, re-used or donated?
- Is the packaging recyclable or biodegradable?
- Is there a low carbon and energy use from transporting the product?
- Will it be easy to maintain by being low maintenance, cost, time and energy?
- Can the product be purchased used, borrowed or rented instead of purchased new?
Also check out the universities “GREEN” Procurement site: http://fbs.admin.utah.edu/purchasing/green/
Pollution Solution for Summer! When combined with heat and sunlight, car exhaust fumes form photochemical smog, which is damaging to the environment and can cause severe breathing difficulties, particularly in asthma sufferers. On hot, sunny days leave your car at home for short journeys and try walking and cycling instead. It is a much better way to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine than sitting in a hot car.
(Source: 1,001 ways to save the earth by Joanna Yarrow, Chronicle Books, 2007.)
Print less, print smart! The paperless society isn't quite here yet, but you can take steps to get there with a few simple workplace ideas:
- Keep files on computers instead of printing them out.
- When you do print, use Print Preview to be sure your document will print as you wish *before* you print it. This also lets you make sure you don't have any stray blank pages within your document.
- Send e-mails instead of paper memos or notes. Or pick up the phone and call instead.
- Print double-sided when you can and as often as you can.
Be Idle Free! What’s the worst gas mileage your car can possibly get? When you’re sitting at a red light with your engine on you are getting zero miles per gallon (ouch!). If you are familiar with particular stop lights or are waiting for a predictable amount of time; turn off your engine. Here are three myths about idling from the California Energy Commission:
Myth #1: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running. Reality: Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
Myth #2: Idling is good for your engine. Reality: Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.
Myth #3: The engine should be warmed up before driving. Reality: Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today's modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.
Source: California Energy Commission - http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html
Use a refillable water bottle! Water bottle filling stations can be found on the 1st floor of the Marriott Library and are popping up in buildings all over campus.
When reaching for a bottle of water consider the following information which takes into account the energy and resources needed to produce that plastic bottle. Some Facts & Statistics:
- The U.S. is the world’s #1 consumer of bottled water, despite the fact that we have the absolute safest water supply in the world.
- The annual fossil fuel footprint of bottled water consumption is the U.S. is equivalent to more than 50 million barrels of oil (enough to run 3 million cars for 1 year).
Go Green, Get Lean by Kate Geagan, MS, RD. 2009.
Have fun! Feeling a little light on the lingo? Here's the newest recycling slang. (thanks to Jerry Seinfield and San Diego County Waste Management):
- Pre-cycle: the practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing items and products into the home or business which will generate waste.
- E-cycle: the process of recycling the components or metals contained in used or discarded electronic equipment otherwise known as electronic waste.
- FreeCycle: also known as free recycling is the act of giving away usable unwanted items to others instead of disposing of them in landfills.
- UpCycle: the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.