Organize your student group to take the Sustainability Pledge
Turn off or unplug electronics when not in use: computer, TV, chargers, etc.
Many items continue to use a small amount of electricity, or "phantom" loads, when they are switched off. These include VCRs, TV’s, stereos, computers, coffee makers and chargers. These phantom loads can be avoided by unplugging the item or using a power strip and turning off the power strip when not in use.
Turn off the lights when you leave the room (at home and on campus).
It’s a myth that it requires more energy to turn the lights back on than what is saved by shutting them off. If the lights will be off for more than 5 seconds, more energy will be saved by turning the lights off than will be used to turn them back on.
Adjust thermostats according to season and room use.
Raising the temperature in the summer and lowering it in the winter by just a few degrees can save a lot of energy. And when you are sleeping or not at home adjust the thermostat accordingly. Why pay to heat or cool a space when you are not using it?
Use energy efficient electronics and light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL’s) use about 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and they last 10 times longer! Energy efficient electronics like TV’s and computers that carry the ENERGY STAR label use at least 30% less electricity than those without the label.
Recycle paper, plastic, metal, and food waste.
According to the EPA, the average person generates about 1,600 lbs of garbage per year and 75% of what is thrown in the trash could have been recycled!
Print only when necessary and when printing or copying, print on both sides.
The average office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of paper! By double siding when printing and copying the amount of paper you use could be reduced by more than a third. That saves money and trees.
Conserve water by taking shorter showers.
The average showerhead uses at least 2.5 gallons of water per minute. There are approximately 20,000 students at ISU. If everyone one of them takes a 10 minute shower every day that means at least 500,000 gallons of water are being used for showers. If every student cut just one minute from their shower time that would save at least 50,000 gallons of water per day!
Use reusable shopping bags.
Approximately 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in the U.S. annually. About 12 million barrels of oil are needed to make that many plastic bags. More than 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year can be attributed to plastic bags.
Walk, bike, use mass transit, and/or car pool.
Spending a lot of time driving can impact your health. It can lead to high blood pressure, back problems, and weight gain. It also increases your exposure to exhaust fumes (often from the vehicle in front of you). By choosing alternative transportation options you can reduce your stress level, increase your physical activity and save money.
Purchase locally grown or prepared foods.
Food travels an average distance of 1,500 miles to arrive in local grocery stores and restaurants. Produce has its highest nutritional value when it is ripe. However, fruits and vegetables that travel a distance are harvested before they are ripe and they ripen in transit. Since nutrients come from a living plant, the amount of nutrients available in produce does not increase as it ripens. In fact, it decreases every day after its harvest. Buying fresh local foods is not only healthier, it puts money back into the local economy by supporting local farmers.
Set a budget and stick with it.
Sustainability is about being responsible stewards of our resources - financial resources included. By learning to live on a budget, people can better understand the value of investing their finances responsibly. This includes investing the true cost of products – sometimes the cheapest item can end up costing more money in the long run than its more expensive competitors.
Use a refillable water bottle and coffee mug.
Bottled water costs between 240 and 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. Rather than spending $2/day on a bottle of water, you can spend $10 on a refillable bottle and use tap water. Some people think bottled water is better for you than tap water. The truth is it’s not. In fact, 25% of bottled water comes from municipal water supplies (tap water). To learn more, visit the All About Water website.
Buying a regular cup of coffee can cost between $1.50 and $2 per cup. Many places give a discount for using a refillable mug. Or if you buy coffee by the pound, make it at home and bring it in a refillable mug, your cup of coffee would only cost about 30 cents per cup! The savings can add up quickly.