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February: Office Supplies & Solid Waste

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During the Month of February, the Sustainable Office Challenges will task you to reduce your solid waste in office supplies. Some examples are: paper use (paper, envelopes, printing and photocopying habits), plastic wrappings, pens, pencils, and more. All of these objects use several of the planet’s resources. Although using these items are in all likelihood necessary for your day-to-day operations, the quantity may be able to be reduced by changing a few habits, work flows, and maybe even adding technology! So, this month, please think twice about your solid waste impact and try to make a reduction, recycle, compost, and reuse. Here are some challenges to get you started!  Don’t forget, you accumulate points and win prizes!


To claim your points for February fill out this form

Description Points
Technology is one of the most prominent features of our lives today. How can we take advantage of all of its benefits? Attend a seminar on how to use technology to reduce waste! The seminar will be held in the multipurpose room on Thursday, February 19th from 11-12 and 12-1. 5

Learn proper recycling practices for Clarkson's campus and where our wastes go by watching a short video created by the sustainability interns (3 min).  Add to your points by testing your knowledge with a 6 question QUIZ.

Pledge to Reduce paper use - Use electronic versions of documents and materials instead of printing.  If you have to print, reduce margins and print on both sides. The third department challenge contains a pdf that you and others from your office can sign.  2
Watch the "Story of Stuff" to learn about how we make, use, and throw away all of the stuff in our lives. Explore our consumer habits and what happens to everything we no longer use. (20 min) 3
Participate to a centralized waste collection system in your department. Place a green sticker on your door to let custodial staff know they don't need to collect solid waste from your office. Stickers will be delivered if you email Read this How-To PDF to learn more about this challenge.  5

People within offices often use the same supplies, but what happens to all of the extra stuff? Designate a community area in your office for unused or lightly used supplies for other co-workers to use. This will reduce waste and promote re-use of materials! (3 points). In addition send a department wide email encouraging faculty and staff to participate in our office supplies "Take it or Leave it" event on Thursday, February 19th in the multipurpose room. Donate extra office supples or take something to avoid new purchases. (2 points)


Want to share what you know about the Zero Sort system? Want to learn more about it? During a faculty and staff meeting discuss proper recycling with the Zero Sort system and implement good practices in the work place!


Hang posters in your office encouraging people to practice responsible waste management! (Pledge Poster) (Recycling Posters)


Inventory the number of trash and recycle bins in your department.  Custodial staff spend over 400 hours collecting from these bins every week.  Improve your department waste collection system by having centralized bins for each recycling and landfill trash throughout the department. Place a green sticker on doors to let custodial staff know they do not need to collect waste from those offices. Note: this will not lead to custodial staff losing their jobs, but it may free up some of their time for more sustainable efforts.



Share your tips and strategies for responsible waste management in your office through the CU Sustainability facebook page (or email ) 3
Watch this video on solid waste and learn about global issues that revolve around one thing: waste.  2

In the United States:

  • People generated about 251 million tons of waste, that’s over 4 pounds of waste a day. Only 87 million tons, 1.5 pounds of daily waste, or 34.5%, of this waste material was recycled or composted!

  • Recycling and/or composting 87 million tons of waste prevents the emission of about 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s similar to removing 33 million cars off the road for a year!

Although people in the United States recycle almost 35% of their waste, yet 75% of waste is recyclable! We could be recycling 128 million tons of this waste and theoretically removing 48 million cars off the road every year. The Campus Sustainability Interns challenge the faculty and staff and Clarkson University to reduce their solid waste.




How can you reduce your solid waste impact?