What You Can Do

“Why throw away resources? 
Discard old thinking instead.”

Here are some ways that you can show some love for Mother Earth.


1. Buy Local Products.  Supporting local vendors is good for the economy and good for the Earth.  You can be a part of saving millions of tons of emissions by simply buying products, goods and services produced right here in the North Country.

2. Buy Organic.  Promote a market that is free of pesticides that contaminate our food and water sources.

3. Use CFL (Compact fluorescent) bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs (75% energy savings).
CFL bulbs may be recycled at the Customer Service counter at Walmart and at Home Depot, and at your RA’s office.

4. Get off catalog mailing lists to reduce paper waste (www.catalogchoice.org).
If your catalog isn’t on their list, call the catalog company (using their 800 or 888 number) and ask to be removed from their mailing list, or send them an e-mail.

5. When eating on campus, don’t use a tray.  You’ll reduce food waste AND the energy it takes to
clean the tray (about ½ gallon of hot water per tray).  

6. Recycle old shoes to needy people in 40 countries (www.giveshoes.org).

7. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth and save several gallons per day.

8. When the weather is nice, go outside to walk or run rather than using the treadmills in the fitness center; you’ll help save electricity.  When the weather isn’t nice, use the indoor track in the Fieldhouse.

9. Donate your old computers, cell phones and PDA’s at your RA’s office or (www.myboneyard.com).

10. Recycle broken e-waste at your RA’s office or (www.earth911.com).

11. Recycle batteries at the COLLEGE STORE.
Walmart will accept batteries at the Customer Service counter at the electronics department.

12. Reduce the margins in your “word” documents to ½ inch or less.  You’ll use less paper and save trees.  Check with your professor for your required formatting, but if you can, use less paper.

13. Get rid of trash cans in your offices.  Use trash cans in hallways or public areas for your garbage. Save up to 250 plastic bags per year.

14. Shop with re-usable cloth shopping bags. 
It takes 100 years for plastic bags to break down.
Plastic bags may be recycled at The Potsdam Food Co-op, P & C, Walmart, Kinney’s and Rite-Aid.

15. Recycle empty printer cartridges
Many ink cartridges can be refilled at Walgreen’s; they’ll also accept empty cartridges.  
Empty ink cartridges may also be dropped off at P & C (just inside the main doors).

16. To save power, UNPLUG your chargers, TV, computer and printer at night.
They use electricity even when turned off.  If you don’t want to unplug your computer, use the sleep mode.  A screen saver needs about 65 watts of power.  Sleep mode uses less than 4.

17. Carry an inexpensive metal knife/fork/spoon for use on campus so you don’t use plasticware.

18. Use napkins made of recycled paper. 
If every household replaced just one 250-count package of virgin-paper napkins with the recycled kind, each year we’d save 1 million trees.  

19. Switch to toilet tissue made from recycled paper.  Each person uses about one moderate-size tree a year.  If we each purchased just one recycled 12-roll pack a year, we’d save 5 million trees.

20. Save up your driving trips until you have several things to do.
Accelerate gradually and drive slower to save gas.  Whenever possible, use a bicycle!

21. Wash your clothes in cold water, it saves energy used to heating the water.

22. Filter your own water (Brita, Pur).  80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills.
It wastes fuel to deliver water bottles to stores.  If you must use bottled water, Dasani and Aquafina use regional purified tap water instead of trucking water around the country.

23. Use replaceable razor blades – not disposables.  Over 2 billion disposables end up in landfills each year.

24. Recycle paper, plastic (marked 1 through 7), tin cans and glass.
Plastic marked #5 can be shipped for recycling into razors, bowls and other products.
(recycline.com/gimme5)  PVC plastic cards (hotel keys, and gift cards) can be set to Earthworks (c/o Halprin Industries, 25840 Miles Rd., Bedford, Ohio 44146) to be made into new cards.

25. Switch to on-line banking; save paper and stamps.  Ask for electronic bank statements.

26. Take your vehicle to the car wash.  Most car washes filter and reuse their water.  You waste 100 gallons of water cleaning your car in the driveway.

27. If you’re really into environmental action, go to sfcompact.blogspot.com.
The compact is an effort to have individuals try to eliminate buying anything new for a year in order to reduce clutter, reduce waste in the home and simplify your lives.

28. Clean the lint trap in your dryer each time you dry a load of laundry.  

29. If you buy a cordless phone, look for the Energy Star label; they use 1/3 the energy of standard phones.

30. Hand-wash dishes instead of using a dishwasher.  Dishwashers use less water but also use a lot of electricity.  The old-fashioned way is better.  Just don’t leave the water running.

31. Support your local library rather than purchasing a new book that you’ll only read once.

32. Buy rechargeable batteries.
  Each rechargeable battery replaces hundreds of single-use alkaline batteries over its lifetime.  When rechargeable batteries need to be replaced, go to call2recycle.org, enter your zip code and find out where to recycle them.

33. Check out secondhand furniture stores before you purchase a new item.

34. Try giving up meat once a week.
  To produce one pound of steak takes 16 pounds of feed, as much water as a typical household uses in a month and large amounts of fossil fuels.

35. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.  Save electricity AND burn calories.

36. Use a PACES environmental mug or a reusable bottle
instead of disposable cups.

37. Recycle your clothes. Patagonia will accept old Patagonia clothing to be made into new garments. (www.patagonia.com)  (Common Threads Garment Recycling Program)

38. GreenDisc recycles CDs, DVDs, video and audio tapes, and their cases.  
They’ll also accept computer related waste – printer cartridges, mice, laptops.

39. If you’re going to buy a flat panel or large-screen TV, purchase an LCD model rather than a
plasma model to cut your power usage by approximately 50%.

40. When purchasing holiday lighting, look for LED’s, fiber optic lights, candelabra CFL’s and  
rope lights,
all of which use substantially less energy than standard holiday lighting.

41. Cut your showers down to as short as possible. A five minute shower uses 32 gallons of water!

42. Buy organic cotton or bamboo materials.

43. Buy in bulk and reduce packaging.

44. Visit www.gazelle.com, they pay cash for usable electronic devices (cell phones, computers, LCD T.V.s, video games, MP3 players, etc.) and delete any information that you might have left behind, refurbish the items and then re-sell them.
 
Suggestions brought to you by Ask Joe.
If you have other energy savings or sustainability ideas, send them to askjoe@potsdam.edu.