Eco-Pokes Tips for Sustainability
Eco-Pokes is a UW Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) initiative to provide easy tips for how students, staff, and faculty can reduce their impact on the environment (and wallets). The CSC also provides updates about opportunities to get involved on campus and in the community.
Eco-Pokes Tip #2: The holiday season often results in more -- more energy use, more stuff, more food, and more waste. Here are a few ideas for celebrating the season more sustainably:
- Wrapping paper -- Non-metallic wrapping paper and all cardboard gift boxes can be recycled through both campus and city recycling programs. Go one step further and reuse gift bags/boxes, tissue paper, bows, and old newspaper instead of using new wrapping materials.
- Decorations -- Join in the local tradition of cutting your own tree from the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. The Forest Service provides permits and guidelines. When the season is over, utilize the City of Laramie’s free curbside tree pickup to ensure trees are chipped into mulch and made available for residential use. You can also find gently used decorations at local thrift stores.
- Lights -- LED lights are a great energy-saving holiday lighting option that have decreased in cost in recent years. Local hardware stores may offer incentives for swapping them out for old, incandescent holiday lights. Using a timer for all holiday lights ensures that they don’t remain on around the clock, saving energy and money.
- Food -- Seek out more sustainable holiday food by supporting local farmers and focusing on seasonal foods. Local products can be found at the Big Hollow Food Co-Op, the Triple Crown Commodities Cooperative, the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market, and elsewhere.
- Consumption -- Support local businesses this season. There are many gift options that are made locally, minimize packaging, or are made with recycled materials. You can also reduce your consumption altogether by giving experiential gifts focused on local excursions. And, ‘tis the season for sharing—donations can be made to a variety of local organizations and efforts, such as the University of Wyoming’s 2014 Holiday Food Drive and the coat drive at the Union Information Desk.
For additional tips, visit the CSC Facebook page for a month-long Countdown to a Sustainable New Year.
On and Around Campus
- Cellphone Recycling Event, Wednesday, December 10th 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM in the Wyoming Union Breezeway (Free pizza for those who donate!)
Eco-Pokes Tip #1: Winter is just around the corner in Wyoming. Take some easy and more extensive steps to reduce your winter heating needs to save energy and money.
- Open shades on south-facing windows during the day to allow for natural heating. Close them at night to reduce the chill. Use insulated shades and curtains or heavy-duty plastic to maximize weatherization.
- Lower your thermostat setting at night and before leaving the house to reduce your energy bills without affecting comfort. Better yet, digital thermostats can be programmed to do this automatically for added convenience.
- Properly maintain your heating and cooling system for the most efficient use possible.
- Seal holes and cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets with caulking and weather stripping to reduce heat loss.
- Check insulation levels, especially in your attic. An attic insulation value of at least R-49 (at least 14 inches of common blown-in cellulose insulation) is recommended in Laramie.
Find additional tips and learn more about winter energy savings at www.energysavers.gov.
The Campus Sustainability Committee advances sustainability at the University of Wyoming and the broader community by promoting sustainability awareness, using campus as a living laboratory, and maintaining accountability for UW’s American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.