Waste Prevention Tips
At the Store
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store or put purchases directly into your book bag or backpack. Many grocery stores give you a small credit for each bag you bring with you.
- Buy durable items that won't need to be replaced as often (e.g., a cloth or mesh coffee filter instead of paper filters will pay for itself, and you will never run out of coffee filters).
- Buy less toxic cleaners. If you must use chemical cleaners, use them carefully and sparingly. Many recipes are available for making cleaners from inexpensive household products, such as lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda.
- Look for products that use less packaging and buy in bulk. A few refillable containers (glass jars, oatmeal canisters, Tupperware containers, etc.) are perfect for storing bulk foods.
In Dining Halls
- Take only what you plan to use and eat (food, paper napkins, condiment packets, straws, plastic drink tops, etc.).
- Many of the food service establishments on or near campus, as well as the dining halls, offer choices for utensils, plates and cups. If you are eating in, use the real silverware, cups and plates. If you are taking food out, bring your own silverware to use (or spork!), and buy beverages in recyclable containers instead of paper or plastic cups (or carry your own mug.)
In your travels around campus, going to classes, going to the library, stopping for coffee, or taking a lunch break, keep in mind these simple ways to reduce the amount of waste you generate along the way.
- Bring a reusable mug with you for trips to coffee shops. Most coffee shops offer discounts for bringing your own mug!
In Computing Sites
You are not likely to be thinking about waste prevention when you are rushing to finish a term paper, but these suggestions are quick and easy to do and can save you time in the long run.
- Take some of the printing paper that's been printed on one side, and re-use it for taking notes or as scrap paper instead of using new paper.
- If you print it, pick it up!
At the Office
A major waste item in offices is paper. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce the amount of paper used. Using less paper also saves your department money. Here are some tips:
- Use both sides of the paper before recycling it. Set printers and copiers to default to double sided-printing or copying. Use scrap paper for taking messages or writing notes before recycling it.
- If you MUST use paper, choose paper that is made from post-consumer recycled content.
- Before discarding any office supplies, see if anyone else could use them. Establish a reuse area in your office using a storage closet or cabinet. Let others know that they should check there before buying new supplies.
- Reuse Campus Mail envelopes if you need to distribute information on campus.
- Encourage staff to bring re-usable coffee mugs. Purchase sugar and creamer in bulk, rather than individually wrapped portions.
- Toner cartridges from laser printers and print cartridges from fax machines can be refilled and reconditioned. When purchasing cartridges for your office, look for remanufactured.
Content modified: July 1, 2008