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Use both sides of every sheet of paper and recycle it when you no longer need it.
Doing your part for the environment
From eNews, April 3, 2008
Everyday activities such as reading a newspaper, eating lunch, mailing a package, or drinking a bottle of water can affect our environment. For example, throwing that half-eaten bagel or empty water bottle into the trash means it will end up in a landfill or waste incinerator. The former may result in contamination of our water supplies, and the latter can spew ash and greenhouse gases into the air we breathe. In 2006 each American generated 4.6 pounds of waste a day, of which about 1.5 pounds were recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Here are some simple steps from the U's Recycling Program that you can take to decrease the waste that you generate:
- Use both sides of every sheet of paper--whether making double-sided copies or writing notes.
- Stop junk mail. Write to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Associations, 11 W. 42nd St., P.O. Box 3861, New York, NY 10163-3861 and ask them to remove your name from their list. This will reduce your junk mail by up to 75 percent.
- Reuse office supplies. Boxes, manila folders, three-ring binders, envelopes, rubber bands, packaging materials, envelopes, paper clips, and many other office supplies can be used several times and by several individuals before being thrown away.
- Share magazines, newspapers, and phone books with coworkers, friends, or neighbors.
- Increase your use of electronic mail and voice mail. Distribute information electronically or display messages on a bulletin board instead of printing or mailing a copy to everyone.
- Buy in bulk. It's cheaper and uses less packaging.
Did you know?
One ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline.
Using recycled glass instead of new materials consumes 40 percent less energy.
- Buy recycled. Purchase products made from recyclable material and ones that are recyclable. By doing so, you are completing the recycling loop.
- Avoid hazardous materials. Many times, very effective non hazardous alternatives are available (e.g. pump sprays versus aerosols).
- Start a compost pile at home--25 percent of the nation's waste is organic waste and can be converted to soil.
- Reuse containers. Store lunches or snacks in reusable containers instead of disposable bags. Use a mug at the office instead of disposable cups and use silverware instead of plastic utensils. Bring food waste back home to a compost pile.
- Purchase non disposable goods. Buy durable, refillable, and repairable quality products. Even though the initial cost may be higher, it is less expensive and less wasteful in the long run.
- After washing your hands, shake off excess water and use a foot or less of paper towel.
For more tips on recycling, or a list of items you can and should not recycle, see University of Minnesota Facilities Management.