Sustainability – What you can do
You may not think your individual choices will make a difference, but collectively, we make a difference together! Every decision and choice you make will have an effect, so here is our way of making it easy for you to have both a positive effect and a green living experience while you are at NAU.
Make a difference
On move-in and move out days Accordion Closed
- Pack fragile items with clothes, towels, bed linens, or newspaper (recycle when you are done) instead of packing peanuts or Styrofoam, which are harmful to the environment.
- Pack items in suitcases, reusable bags, or plastic storage containers. Make use of items you plan to keep in your room.
- If you do need cardboard boxes, look for used ones first.
We provide roll off dumpsters near your hall for disposing of cardboard boxes and packaging, please look for the signs or ask your Resident Assistant.
Ditch the dumpster and don’t throw out perfectly good stuff just because you don’t want to pack it! Make sure to participate in our Donate don’t Ditch Donation program. During spring Reading Week, you will find bins located in the lobby of your building for the donation of gently used items.
Items that can be donated
- Furniture and mirrors
- Cleaning supplies (even partially used)
- Non-perishable food (check the expiration date, please)
Items that are not accepted
- Broken or badly worn items
- Egg crate or foam mattress toppers
- “tube” television
- Futon mattresses
These donations benefit local agencies, which have included Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Sunshine Rescue Mission. Last year, students donated over 36,000 pounds of items and the program has donated almost 200,000 pounds since it started!
10 tips for your living space Accordion Closed
- Turn off your room lights, computer, monitor, printer, television, radio, etc. when not being used and when you leave your room. Use a power strip to make it easy to turn everything off at once.
- Minimize your purchase and use of disposable glass, plastic and paper containers. Buy and use products in containers that can be reused and/or recycled.
- “Green clean” with a reusable washcloth or sponge, not paper towels.
- Use the blue bin provided in your room for all your recyclables – metal, paper and plastic. Find answers for other recycling questions. You should also have a magnet on your refrigerator for a quick recycling reference.
- Glass must be recycled separately. There are two locations for glass recycling on or near campus. The southwest corner of parking lot P62B (the “Commuter Lot”) or at the Bus Transfer Station located at 116 West Phoenix Avenue (by Fratelli’s and Pizzicletta).
- Avoid paper waste by using the double-sided function on printers and recycling pages until you’ve printed on both sides or used them for notes and messages. Edit your documents on screen and by using the print preview function rather than printing drafts.
- Take shorter showers, ideally five minutes or less. Try getting wet, then turning water off or down while you soap and scrub, before turning water back on (or up) to rinse.
- Turn faucets off while you brush your teeth, shave, wash dishes, etc.
- Wash full loads of dirty clothes and use cold water to save water and save on energy needed to heat water. Don’t forget to clean the lint trap in the dryer, too!
- Call (928) 52F-IXED (928-523-4933) to report water waste from dripping faucets, showerheads, etc.
- Turn off lights as you leave bathrooms, study rooms, lounges,laundry room, etc. Most spaces have at least one light fixture that stays on all the time for safety reasons.
5 tips for when you’re out and about Accordion Closed
- Carry a reusable water bottle or mug, and refill it at water fountains, dining locations, and water refill stations across campus. Doing this will save you money, reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream, and reduce energy costs of producing plastic bottles.
- Say “no thanks” to paper and plastic bags when you shop. Carry your books, snacks, reusable mug, reusable silverware, etc. in a backpack or cloth or canvas bag.
- Try to avoid products like Styrofoam plates, plastic cups, and plastic silverware. Stock your room, suite or apartment with reusable dishes, cups and silverware.
- Look for products with packaging labeled “Printed on recycled paper” or “Made with post-consumer content.”
- Use public transportation, bike, walk or carpool whenever possible.
Reducing: start by buying and bringing less! Accordion Closed
You have heard of the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle), right? Reducing is often listed first because it is the most important one to do.
We all like to acquire “stuff,” and we are always hearing about the latest and greatest new gadget or fashion style that instantly: we. must. have. Before you pull out your wallet, we encourage you to ask yourself these questions first:
Do I need to replace what I already have?
- Where and how was it made?
- How will I be using it and how often?
- Where is it going to end up when I am done with it?
- Do I really need it?
If you decide you really do need certain items, especially for your new room, consider holding off on buying everything until you get here and get settled in. You may discover that you don’t need as much as you thought you did. Additionally, keep the following in mind:
- Consider buying used items, like shelving, at a local thrift store after you figure out what you need and what you have space for in your room.
- Make sure to consult with your roommate(s) so you do not duplicate efforts. For example, do both of you need to bring a TV and DVD player for your room?
- Consider leaving your gaming system at home. All of our communities have one for use in the lounge.
Reducing: don’t be an energy hog Accordion Closed
EnergyStar electronic appliances
Why should I?
- They use 10-50% less energy.
LED light bulbs
Why should I?
- A LED light bulb uses 75% less energy and lasts about 25 times as long as an incandescent light bulb.
- This means the one you buy for your desk or floor lamp should last you all four years of college!
Why should I?
- Did you know that many items are the cause of “vampire energy” because they still draw power even when you aren’t using them?
- Common items responsible for this problem include cell phone and iPad chargers, televisions, gaming systems, and computers.
- Flip the switch or unplug to kill the vampire energy! Doing so can cut your daily energy use by about 10%. Think about the impact if all 7000 students living on campus took this action.
- Make it even easier on yourself by buying a smart power strip, like this one. A flip of the switch leaves on those items that still needs power, but turns the rest off.
Why Should I?
- It makes your clothes last longer. It reduces the possibility of shrinking, and the heat from dryers fades the colors and weaken the fibers with repeated use.
- It saves you money. It costs 75 cents to dry each load of clothes. You can buy a drying rack for $20 to $30 and use it for many years. If you dry two loads of laundry a week, you will pay off a drying rack after one semester of school!
- Obviously, it saves energy if you are not using dryers. Running a clothes dryer results in about 2 kilograms of greenhouse gases being released with each use.
Use alternative transportation
Why should I?
- A lot of what you will need on a regular basis is within convenient walking, boarding, or biking distance.
- Consider skipping the parking pass, and use your own power to get from point A to point B! Not only will it save you money, but you can get some easy regular exercise!
- There is also a free on campus shuttle system to get you around campus and the inexpensive Mountain Line bus system for those farther away destinations in Flagstaff.All student workers are able to get a free Bus Ecopass through Parking Services.
- Don’t own a bike? Check out one from the free Yellow Bike rental system.
- Need further convincing? NAU was recognized as a Bike Friendly University in 2012. Flagstaff has also been recognized as both a Walk Friendly Community and a Bike Friendly Community and has over 50 miles of trails to explore with the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) system.
Reusing: it will save you money! Accordion Closed
I don’t know about you, but I can always appreciate saving a little money. Here are some easy ideas that will do the same for you.
Reusable water bottle and travel mug
Why should I?
- Stop using those boring disposable cups and show off your personal style with your own drink containers.
- A 50 cent discount at all campus dining locations for bringing your own.
- Filtered water refill stations in all residence halls, the Union, the Franke Business School, and the Dub; with plans for more installations around campus.
- We live in a state with serious water shortages anticipated in the very near future!
- In 2009, of all the purchased water bottles, only 28% were recycled.
- It has been estimated that one bottle of water wastes the equivalent of five bottles of water in manufacturing.
- The Columbia Water Center estimates that Americans drink 21 gallons of bottled water per capita per year. If applied to NAU’s 23,600 full time students, an estimated 495,600 gallons of water was consumed while nearly 2.5 million gallons of water was wasted in the manufacturing process.
- The student organization, Net Impact, estimated that NAU students sent 1.5 million one-liter water bottles to the landfill.8
Reusable silverware, dishes, napkins, and dishtowels
Why should I?
- These onetime purchases will save you money in the long run, and allow you to reduce the amount of trash you send to the Flagstaff Landfill.
- There are inexpensive and fun options at both local discount stores and thrift stores. Yet another way to show some personal style!
- You can carry silverware and a napkin with you in your backpack and cut down on your waste while eating at the Union or the Dub.
- You are going to have to do laundry anyways!
- During the average year, each American uses about 2200 paper napkins, which is an average of about 6 a day. This means that NAU’s 23,600 full time students use over 51 million napkins a year!9
Reusable shopping bag
Why should I?
- Still another inexpensive way to show some personal style and cut down on your waste.
- Many stores offer a discount for bringing your own.
- Sturdier than those cheap plastic bags
- Campus Dining Services no longer provides plastic bags at our on-campus convenience stores or restaurants so you SHOULD bring your own, it’s the campus norm.They estimate that this policy changes allows them to avoid giving out about 30,000 plastic bags each year.
- The United States uses over 84 billion bags each year. They are not biodegradable, are harmful to wildlife, end up back in OUR food chain, and are made from petroleum, a non-renewable natural resource.10
Why Should I?
- Again, it will save you money in the long run if you use batteries regularly in an item.
- Discarded one-use batteries have toxic chemicals in them that have a harmful effect on their environment. Chemicals like nickel, mercury, and lead acid can end up in our soil and water supply affecting us, animals, and plant life.11
- Here’s a helpful guide that talks about the different types of batteries and best uses for each type.
- Have alkaline batteries that you need to get rid of? Take them to the Information Desk in the University Union. They will make sure they are properly disposed for you.
Go natural: Avoid harmful chemicals Accordion Closed
Organic and/or sustainably produced linens
Why Should I?
- Won’t you sleep better knowing there aren’t any nasty chemicals potentially in the material you will be putting next to your body every night? Yuk! Do something nice for yourself and the environment.
- Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically-dependent crops, sucking up 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals and 25 percent of insecticides on 3 percent of our arable land.12
Green cleaning and personal care products
Why Should I?
- Many brands of both household and personal care cleaning products contain chemical ingredients that can be toxic to us and the environment. Others can cause irritations or aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma. You shouldn’t use anything that you would not want to breathe in or come in contact with your skin!
- Consider using the Good Guide website to review their evaluation and scoring of different products’ impact on your personal health, the environment and society. It also provides the ingredient list for rated products. How do your current products rate?
- Some possible brands of cleaning products to consider are: Ecover, Method, Seventh Generation, Clorox Green Works, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, ECOS, and Shaklee
- Some possible brands of personal care products to consider are: Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
- Want to take it one step further, and make your own non-toxic cleaning products out of everyday household items? Check out this how-to guide or this one.
- Want to learn even more? This guide that breaks down what different ingredients mean that you find on labels.