Tips for Students
Save the Planet - Starting With Your Little Corner of It
Goucher has embarked on a far-reaching campaign to promote environmental sustainability throughout our academic and co-curricular programs. You can join us by integrating sustainable practices into your life.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs, which last longer and use less energy than regular bulbs.
- Turn off unnecessary electrical devices when you leave a room for more than 15 minutes.
- Enable your computer to go into "sleep mode" when not in use.
- Do not leave computers on all night.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
- Unplug cell phone charger when charging is complete.
- Use natural light rather than electric whenever possible.
- Pull down window shades at night in the winter and during the day in the summer.
- Go old school -- try a standard phone with a cord instead of a cordless model, which requires constant energy.
- Turn off and defrost refrigerator over long breaks.
- Don't use power strips to turn on your computer and desk equipment all at once.
- Buy inexpensive mugs and plates that you can wash rather than disposable ones and avoid over-packaged takeout food.
- Reuse envelopes, advertisements, and previously used paper for notes.
- Buy a water filter and refill a reusable container instead of buying cases of bottled water.
- Share magazines and books.
In the bathroom
- Take shorter showers; don't run the water before getting in, and turn off the water when lathering.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving.
- Report leaky faucets and showerheads.
- Don't use the toilet as a garbage bin. Toss tissues and waste in trash cans.
- Only wash full loads of laundry.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Air dry whenever possible.
- Use products containing the least amount of bleaches, dyes, and fragrances.
- Use refillable binders instead of notebooks or use a laptop.
- Use recycled paper.
- Take notes on both sides of paper.
- If it’s OK with your professor, hand in assignments by printing on both sides of the page.
- Unless you’re a person with disabilites, don’t use automatic doors.
- Never pour hazardous chemicals down the drain.
- Use as small an amount of chemicals as possible by following instructions and being exact when measuring out starting materials.
- Reuse cleaning solvents such as acetone and alcohol for initial cleaning of dirty glassware, using fresh solvent for the final rinse only.
- Prepare chemical waste for disposal as per instructions in the hazardous waste management program.
- Always provide proper waste minimization and disposal instructions to students
- Redesign experiments to minimize hazardous chemical waste and to replace toxic reagents with less hazardous substances.
- Order reagents in exact amounts to avoid leftovers.
- Distill and recycle solvents for use in demonstrations.
- Make sure chemicals are clearly and properly labeled.
- Use nontoxic, biodegradable art supplies.
- Replace oil-based paints with water-based paints.
- Modify spray-painting techniques to minimize over-spraying.
- Use biodegradable, nontoxic cleaners.
- Minimize use of cleaning solvents for brush cleaning by reusing dirty solvents for first rinse and fresh solvents for final rinse only.
- Clean brushes with lavender oil instead of turpentine.
- Eat locally grown foods.
- Carry a reusable cup or water bottle. Some water bottles come with built-in filters if you're worried about the quality of the tap water.
- Limit the use of paper napkins.
- Only take what you will eat to limit food waste.
- Do not remove reusable plates, bowls, cups, or utensils from the dining facilities.
- Dispose of waste in the correct container.
- Carry a tote bag for shopping so you don't have to use a plastic bag.
- Purchase durable rather than disposable products.
- If you get a plastic bag, reuse it.
- Go vintage. Buying used clothing saves money, decreases the use of resources to make clothing, and puts a dent in the problem of sweatshops.
- Also buy used furniture and books.
- Buy recycled products, such as paper, and get environmentally safe cleaning products. Check out the options at Goucher's bookstore.
- When you print or photocopy, use both sides of each sheet of paper.
- Save pages that you've printed and use the backs to print out drafts and other things you don't have to turn in.
- When possible, use your printer's low-quality setting to save ink.
- Bookmark webpages instead of printing them for research.
- Edit on screen, not on paper.
- Use e-mail to minimize paper use.