OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Sustainability Tips

  1. In the discussion surrounding climate change, often the terms used can be very technical and difficult to understand if your background is not a scientific one. If you've found yourself questioning the meaning of some of these terms, look no further! Check out this video from the Sierra Club on carbon sequestration to learn about what it is, how it works, and what we can do to help out the process.
  2. We all worry abot the fate of the world, and at times its problems can seem so unsurmountable, that it can be disheartening. But, as this man has shown, the thought "I am just one person" is not a handicap, that there is no limit to what just one person can do for this world. Check out this 15 minute documentary to learn the story of Jadav Payeng's forest.
  3. Deforestation is one of the largest causes of atmospheric CO2 increase, and every year it produces more CO2 than all of the worlds planes, ships, cars, and trains combined. Illegal and unregulated logging accounts for 30% of the global timber trade, but what can you do about it? A company called the Rainforest Connection just might have a solution. Check out their Kickstarter video to see what common object they've transformed into a way to stop illegal logging, and reduce CO2 output.
  4. Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind as far as activities with high levels of energy consumption, common chores such as doing your laundry can have a substantial environmental impact. Implementing more sustainable laundering practices can save you tons of money on your utility bills, as well as reduce your overall environmental impact. Check out this artical to learn about 11 ways you can green up your laundry practices.  

  5. These days electronic waste (E-waste) is a growing concern around the world. A great deal of emphasis is placed on recycling E-waste, but what about the second step in the cycle, reuse? As it turns out, there are tons of creative ways to repurpose your E-waste, such as these rad coasters made out of old wires! Check out the Sierra Club's website to see how to make this cool craft.
  6. Could your summer look be described as 'lobster-esque'? If so, suncreen is most likely an integral part of your summer routine. Many sunscreens contain toxic ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate that disrupt hormone balances and have been linked to various forms of cancer (ironic...). If you've been searching for a natural alternative, look no further. Treehugger offers a list of the top 10 natural sunscreens on the market today, and if you'd like to learn more about the various chemicals in sunscreen and their effects, check out this article by the Environmental Working Group.
  7. Spring term is coming to a close, which means the hot summer weather is just getting started. If you're looking for ways to cool down this summer, a delicious green smoothie could be your solution! Green smoothies are smoothies that typically include both fruits and vegetables, and thus pack a powerful punch in delivering your daily dose of vitamins and antioxidents. If you're feeling skeptical about how to combine your fruits and veggies and create something you actually want to drink, check out Simple Green Smoothies to see how you can amp up your green smoothie game, as well as find some awesome recipes!
  8. As we're approaching the one year anniversary of the plastic bag ban in Corvallis, new technology has arisen that could change the future of plastic bags forever. A startup company called cycleWood Solutions Inc. has developed a sustainable new way to make plastic bags by using a plentiful by-product from paper mills: lignin. Lignin is a natural component of the cell wall in plant cells, and is removed from wood during the treatment process to turn the wood into paper. Lignin is fully biodegradable, strong, plentiful and cheap! To read the full story on how two MBA students from the University of Arkansas are changing the future of plastics, visit Science Daily
  9. Ever wonder if the products you purchase are green, ethical, healthy, or even safe? This rad website offers a quick and easy way for you to find out! You simply type the name of a product into the search bar, and the site gives you a 'rating' for the product based upon parameters of environmental impact, ethical production practices, etc. It even offers you product alternatives with higher ratings, should your favorite shampoo not make the cut. Check it out at http://www.goodguide.com/
  10. Spring is here and Corvallis is in bloom! I'm sure you've all admired the exquisite flowers that seem to be exploding from every plant and tree you could possibly imagine, but have you ever wondered....can I eat this? As it turns out, you can indeed! Many flowers are edible and safe, not to mention delicious! Check out Treehugger for a list of 42 savory blossoms you can fit into your next meal!
  11. Tired of your groceries going bad? Questioning wether or not that yogurt is ok to eat? Here are some fridge friendly tips! ROTATE the food in your fridge: As you buy new groceries, bring the older items in your fridge to the front putting the newer items in the back. This will help reduce food waste by drawing your attention to the older food that needs to be used up sooner.
    "USE BY" vs. "BEST BEFORE" - expiration dates can be tricky. If the date label says "USE BY" it means that the food is only safe for consumption until the indicated day. If it says "BEST BEFORE" it means that the food's expected quality is retained up until that date, but it's safe for consumption even after the indicated day. 


2. Reduce, reuse, recycle! Oftentimes we focus on recycling, but reducing is an important part of the cycle! Here are some easy ways to reduce!

  • Use washable clothes instead of throwaway wipes
  • Buy rechargeable batteries
  • Use reusable containers with lids instead of foil and plastic bags/wraps
  • Make sure your printers default setting is double sided
  • Use a reusable coffee mug or cup instead of disposables. 350 million pounds of coffee cups wind up in landfills every year.
  • Bring your own containers to restaurants to take home leftovers
  • Check out the Campus Recycling website to learn more about waste reduction and reducing you impact on the environment! 

3. Millions of people go without vital resources such as fresh water everyday...think you can go without something as "vital" as your cell phone? Check out tap.unicefusa.org/mobile and find out how going without your phone can help supply children with clean water!

 4. Take a note from Campus Conservation Nationals, and put your computer to sleep! Putting your computer in sleep mode when you aren't using it will consume 80% less energy, and will reduce wear and tear.

  1. Many of you may know Steve Cook, an instructor for the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. His insight to sustainability might be different than what you've heard in the past: “My tip would be to not try to gain sustainability hero status all at once.  Pick out one or two areas and focus on them.  For example, stop eating industrial beef and stop using your clothes drier in favor of a clothes line or clothes rack." -Steve Cook
  2. What is BPA? Why is it so bad for you?
  3. Check out and support rad companies doing positive things for the environment! POW (Protect Our Winters) is an organization of snow sports enthusiasts out there campaigning to fight the effects of climate change!
  4. Here's one small action that can have a large impact on your carbon footprint:TED talk "weekday vegetarian" on making a pledge to eat less meat, without the hard black-and-white dedication of being a full on vegetarian. The talk goes over benefits of eating less meat, such as a reduced carbon footprint, reducing animal cruelty, and increasing your overall health.
  5. Check out Gear Trade an online outdoor gear shop for gently-used items an alternative to buying the expensive gear this year.
  6. Shop with a social conscience by voting with your wallet by making informed purchasing decisions and buying fair trade 

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