Do One Thing!

Sustainability Tips and Facts

1. CARRY A REUSABLE HOT/COLD CUP FOR COFFEE/DRINKS ON CAMPUS.

Refills for a reusable cup are $1.86 (less than a non-reusable cup).  By using a re-usable cup you are reducing the waste of a non-reusable cup entirely.  Assuming that the average college student drinks 2 cups of coffee, tea, or other hot beverages per day, multiplying that by 8,000 SUNY Oswego students, the amount of non-reusable cups being wasted is large.  If everyone carried a re-usable cup, SUNY Oswego would be able to reduce its plastic and paper waste greatly.     

2. SET A FIVE-MINUTE TIMER FOR YOUR SHOWER THIS WEEK. IF YOU AREN'T 'DONE' BY THE FIVE MINUTES, SHUT OFF THE HOT WATER.

The average American showers for 10 minutes every day. 
While the cost to heat and use the water for a 10 minute shower seems low - only .50 cents per shower -but multiplied by 7, that's $3.50 per week...per person. If every student in the SUNY Oswego community reduced their shower time to five minutes we could save $4000 a day in hot water - that's $28,000 per week.

3. WASH YOUR LAUNDRY IN COLD WATER - LINE OR AIR-DRY INSTEAD OF TUMBLE DRYING

The washing machine on a hot water wash uses 25 gallons of hot water - or .50 cents per load.  Think about how many loads of laundry you do and how much power you could save by washing in cold water.  Cold water washes actually preserve the longevity of your clothes and keeps colors brighter longer by not relaxing the cloth fibers as much as hot water does

The average dryer load costs .25 cents to run for a full cycle and, due to the amount of clothes dried and the time it takes to dry them, the dryer alone amounts to 5.8% of all residential power used on average. Consider line or air-drying you clothes. There are apartment or 'dormitory' friendly clotheslines that take up little or no space when not in use. Your pants aren't too tight, your sweaters won't shrink and your whole room will smell like clean laundry!

4. CARRY A REFILLABLE (STAINLESS STEEL OR PLASTIC BPA FREE) WATER BOTTLE

Almost twice as much water goes into the making of the disposable bottle as the contents of the bottle, so each bottle of water sold equals three disposable water bottles.  The plastic that goes into making disposable water bottles is made from nonrenewable fossil fuels, creating waste on both ends - in the creation of the bottle and it's lifetime in a landfill.

6. Pick up that litter!

After driving, pick up one small piece of litter or debris between the parking lot and your destination. This is a very simple way to improve the aesthetics of your local environment. It might even prevent someone from the burden of a flat tire as well!

5. GO PAPER-FREE WITH ONLINE SUBMISSION OF HOMEWORK AND ASSIGNMENTS, PERSONAL BILLING AND BANK STATEMENTS AND DOWNLOAD E-PUB FORMATS FOR READING.

Most instructors will be just as happy to receive your work via the Internet, as long as it's correct and on time.

Almost every major banking and billing institution has a paperless option - use it, and contact the companies sending you 'junk' mail - like the Do Not Call list.  They will cease and desist if you tell them to
.

You do NOT need to own a Kindle or a Nook to enjoy e-pub format, you can often download them onto your computer or smart phone. Think about it - which would you rather carry to class?

RECYCLE all paper products whenever possible.  If you are unable to located a recycle bin for paper, ask someone.

7. SHOP AND BUY LOCALLY, CARRY A REUSABLE BAG. DONATE AND BUY SECOND HAND.

When you elect to shop locally you not only support the local economy, but you reduce the waste produced by packaging, shipping and delivering items purchased online. When buying locally, bring your own bag. The petroleum used to make 14 plastic bags could power one car to drive two miles. Over 60,000 plastic bags are used in the US every five minutes. That's the equivalent of 4,285 miles of driving - every minutes.  In addition, they are notoriously difficult to recycle (our local Walmart does take and recycle bags from any retailer)

When you are done with an item - of clothing, electronics, sheets, jewelry, etc.- don't throw it away.  Donate it locally. You can write off charitable donations in your taxes (your parents will be so proud!) and the money raised by the sale of charitable donations goes toward local soup kitchens and families in need.

Before you buy it new, think about buying it second hand. Not underwear or toothbrushes but think about lamps and picture frames, vases and books. Think about clothing items too - many donations are lightly worn or new with tags - and extremely affordable.

8. TAKE THE BUS. OR WALK. LEAVE YOUR CAR PARKED UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY NEED IT.

Going downtown for groceries or to catch a movie, dinner or cups of coffee, or -lets face it - driving from Snygg to Mahar - you need your car, right? Nope.  SUNY Oswego has a highly effective and synchronized bus system that is free and at your disposal.  So keep your feet dry, avoid having to warm the car up this winter and take the bus.

Even better, when it's dry, take a walk.  The endorphins created from mild exercise can promote a better attitude and healthier outlook on life.  The sunshine activates the vitamin D in your bloodstream and has a naturally 'cheering' effect (no one ever regretted a little bit of exercise
).

Most importantly, the carbon emissions on the SUNY Oswego campus are our biggest singular challenge toward becoming carbon neutral.  The power you, as students have to effect a change toward fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a better environment for all is immense.

9. UNPLUG IT.

Lots of electronic equipment which contain a transformer and/or capacitors draw what is called "phantom power" from the grid even when not being used. Most televisions, speakers, desktop computers, laptop chargers, printers, external hard drives, wireless routers, and gaming systems draw phantom power when plugged in but turned off.

To make it simple, plug all of your devices into power strips. Then, when you leave for an extended period of time, simply unplug or turn off the power strips.

10. DO ONE THING.

None of these items are impossible or difficult.  So now that you've done each
 of them for one week, do all of them together.

Create your own 'One Thing!'  
Where do you see our greatest opportunities to become more sustainable on campus? 
 How can we take advantage of these opportunities?  
How can we translate this to other students and get them to Do this One Thing?  Share these ideas, as well as your own with your friends.  By doing this, you are helping to make SUNY Oswego a more sustainable campus.