Ten Steps toward Sustainability
Remember, the first priority is to reduce overall consumption--do this through buying less, using less, borrowing or sharing, and buying used or recycled.
Then, reduce waste by re-using, recycling, selling, donating, and composting.
- Reusable bottles and mugs. Fill them at water fountains and receive discounts for beverages at Java Joe's and the GQ. You can purchase these through EnAcT.
- Use cloth bags rather than paper or plastic. These can be purchased through EnAcT.
- Use energy star devices--stereo, tv, computer, etc.
- Click here to view Muhlenberg's Greening Committee's energy star endorsement.
- Check out www.energystar.gov
- Shut down your computer and all electronics when not in use.
- An average desktop computer at idle will consume about 613 kWh/year and produce about 417 lb. of carbon emissions. Shutting down can also reduce your susceptibility to viruses, worms, and hackers.
- Unplug appliances and/or use power strips (also check out smart strips) to cut power to devices and chargers when not in use.
- Consider having all computer equipment (monitor, printer, etc.) on one strip and all television/stereo equipment on another.
- 75% of power for home electric appliances is consumed by devices that are turned off; this "vampire" power drain amounts to 5% of the total US power consumption.
- Use sunlight when possible or use fluorescent or LED lights rather than incandescent.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs!
- What to do if you accidentally break a fluorescent bulb
- Eat less meat and buy local and organic.
- Click here for a list of local resources
- Click here to see the Environmental Working Groups list of best and worst produce for pesticide residues
- Reduce paper consumption.
- Only print when necessary and print and copy double-sided (set this as the default option)
- Pay bills online
- Purchase paper with 100% post consumer waste recycled content
- Get off mailing lists:
Catalog Choice is a free service that lets you opt-out of unwanted catalogs
Opt out of pre-approved credit card and insurance offers
Opt out of mailings from the Direct Marketing Association by going to their website and clicking on the orange box that reads "Consumer website" then click on the white box that reads “remove my name from mailing lists.”
- Bike or walk rather than drive. Check out MapMyRide to plan your bicycle trip.
- Reduce water use.
- take shorter showers
- turn off water when brushing your teeth, shaving, etc.
- collect the water that runs while you wait for it to heat up and use that water for houseplants
- Only run the washing machine when full
- Use cold water for your washing machine and hang your clothes to dry.
This list is in no particular order. Pat yourself on the back for what you already do and pick some of the above steps to begin working on. Also see the Muhlenberg Guide to Sustainable Living for more ideas.
Please report unnecessary waste! If heating or cooling systems are malfunctioning or if there is a water leak, let plant operations know as soon as possible (call 484-664-3400).