Campus Sustainability

Little Things Add Up to Big Change

Sustainability Tips

Bring your own mug to the café.
IMPACT: Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee; of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups ... enough to wrap the entire earth 55 times end-to-end! Source:

Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.
IMPACT: If Californians cut their plastic bag waste in half,
it would save over 2,000 barrels of oil a day – over 800,000 barrels a year – and keep 73,000 tons of rubbish out of our landfills. Source

Turn off lights, microwaves, or any other electric devices when you leave the room or house.
IMPACT: You can save over ½ million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year by turning off your lights for an hour per day. Source:

That funny looking light bulb can make a huge difference: Replacing one incandescent light bulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb means 1,000 pounds less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere and $67 dollars is saved on energy costs over the bulb's lifetime. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Alliance to Save Energy

Power down: “For example, if all the world’s 1 billion PC’s were powered down for just one night – it would save enough energy to light up New York City’s Empire State Building – inside and out – for more than 30 years” Source: 1E Energy Awareness Campaign

Slow Down! Reducing your speed to 55 mph from 65 mph may increase your fuel efficiency by as much as 15 percent; cut it to 55 from 70, and you could get a 23 percent improvement. National Geographic Society, Green Guide

Eat Local Foods: In North America, fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles before reaching your dinner table. Buy local whenever possible. National Geographic Society, Green Guide

Buy in Bulk: Packaging makes up a third of all garbage tossed in the U.S. To cut down on waste, avoid single-serving foods and beverages. Instead, buy items in bulk and portion them out into reusable containers.  National Geographic Society, Green Guide

The American Association of Wine Economists estimates global greenhouse gas emissions from wine production and distribution to be 5,336,600 tons—roughly the same amount that one million passenger vehicles would emit in a year. What can you do? Buy bigger bottles or in bulk to cut back on the carbon spent for shipping. National Geographic Society, Green Guide

Plant a Tree: Trees help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that 100 billion metric tons of carbon over the next 50 years could be sequestered through forest preservation, tree planting and improved agricultural management. Chicago Tribune

Get a Reusable Water Bottle: Americans buy 28 billion single-serving plastic water bottles every year, and 80% of those end up in landfills, according to the Container Recycling Institute. Meeting the nation's demand for bottle water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year, the Earth Policy Institute estimates. Chicago Tribune

Wash in Cold Water: Washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, according to Drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds. Source: Chicago Tribune

Recycling aluminum saves energy: Creating a new aluminum can from scratch takes 95% more energy than making a can from recycled aluminum. Source: Earth911

Think before you toss: America is the queen of trash. Every day in the U.S., we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building. We throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, produce enough styrofoam cups annually to circle the earth 436 times and trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall form Los Angeles to New York City. We throw away 570 disposable diapers each second, and toss out enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months. Each year we fill enough garbage trucks to stretch from Earth halfway to the moon. Source:

Recycle Your Cell Phone: In the United States alone, 120 million cell phones are thrown away each year. Recycle your cell phone at and the profits will be used to microfinance loans to the poor, not to mention saving the environment from harmful e-waste. One million cell phones recycled equals 350 trillion gallons of water saved from pollution and 100 thousand people helped.

It Pays to Recycle:

  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 3.2 cubic  yards of landfill space and 60 pounds of air pollution.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to power a TV for three hours, and aluminum cans can be recycled an unlimited number of times.
  • Recycling a ton of glass saves the equivalent of 9 gallons of oil.
  • Increasing steel recycling by 50% would save the energy equivalent to 7 nuclear power plants. 

Did you know?

45% of the 21 million barrels of oil the U.S. consumes every day come out of tailpipes. That’s almost 10 million barrels a day, six million of them imported. Source:

CO2 emissions from U.S. coal-based electricity are greater than emissions from all the cars and trucks in America. Source: "GHG Emissions and Sinks 1990-2006," U.S. EPA 2008

Only 1% of China’s 560 million city residents breathe air that is considered safe by the European Union. And, this severe air pollution problem, which has led to cancer becoming China’s leading cause of death, is no longer affecting the Chinese people alone. China’s dirty air is spreading across the globe as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by the country’s many factories and coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain upon South Korea and Japan. The heavy brown clouds of pollution that hover over Asia are now spreading as far as to the west coast of the U.S. Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China.  Source:

The U.S. Consumes More Energy: In 1997, U.S. residents consumed an average of 12,133 kilowatt-hours of electricity each, almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. Source: Grist Magazine

Human Impact: On average, 16 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere every 24 hours by human use worldwide. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Solar Panels: For the 2 billion people without access to electricity, it would be cheaper to install solar panels than to extend the electrical grid. Source: The Fund for Renewable Energy Everywhere

Wind Power = More Jobs: An investment in wind power produces almost three times as many jobs as the same investment in coal power. And an investment in solar power produces almost four times as many jobs, and energy efficiency, almost thirty times as many jobs as coal power. Source: Based on analysis of the new energy economy released by Earth Policy Institute, Nov. 2008