Live Green Pledge

92% of CU Buffs want to lower their carbon footprints and 90% want to make choices that support a sustainable lifestyle.  Tell us where you stand on the issue.  By signing the CU Buffs Live Green pledge, you join your peers in committing to continue to do what you can to lower your personal carbon footprint.

By signing the Live Green pledge, you can also earn a social good currency called Positive Impact Points or PIPs - earned for the good you do and exchanged for great deals at local businesses and online products - on the PIPs app, currently in beta testing phase on campus!

Take the Pledge

CU Buffs Green Living Guide

The CU Buffs Green Living Guide is a resource for students, faculty and staff who wish to live more sustainable lives. This comprehensive guide is full of eco-conscious facts and tips for reducing your carbon footprint on a daily basis. 

Topics include Travel and Transportation, Zero Waste, Natural Resources, Conscious Consumerism, Holidays and Workplace.

Although we aren’t always aware of it, transportation is a major part of life no matter how often or far you go. By altering how we move through space, we can seriously impact our carbon footprint and create a more symbiotic relationship with the earth. Sustainable living means interacting with the planet today in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the ability of future generations to live healthy lives on this planet too. So for the sake of all beings, let’s shift gears into greener transportation habits!

The facts:

  • Transportation produces almost 30% of all U.S. carbon emissions, according to the EPA.

  • It takes less gasoline to restart your car than it does to let it idle for more than a minute. Keep the air clean by keeping your engine off!

  • Biking is great for your health, and the cost of maintaining a bike is twenty times less than the cost of maintaining a car.

  • According to the AAA American Driving Survey, from May 2013-2014, drivers nation-wide reported spending an average of 280 hours annually behind the wheel. That’s over 11 days spent just in the car!

  • Four tons of carbon is released into the atmosphere when producing a single car, in addition to 700 pounds of other pollutants. Owning a vehicle heavily impacts your carbon footprint both on and off the road, so lighten your load by choosing other methods of transportation!

  • The estimated average yearly cost of driving a single-occupant car is $4,826 to $9,685. In comparison, the average cost of a year's worth of public transportation is between $200 and $2000. The impacts of choosing green transportation are exponential— your bank account, your planet, and your personal health all benefit from less time spent behind the wheel.

What you can do:

Bike:

  • Check out the CU Bike Program, and register your bike at one of the CU bike stations for free and gain access to no cost repairs, prove ownership, and protect your bike from being stolen.

  • Visit a CU Bike Station to rent a Buff Bike for free!

  • Join Boulder B Cycle to use the red bikes all around town.

Carpool:

Vanpool:

Bus:

Check out http://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/transportation for more information on sustainable transportation.

Green Travel

The Facts:

  • Green travel is a term used to describe responsible travel practices that focus on economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability.

  • A round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person, which is significant considering the average American generates about 19 tons of CO2 per year.

  • What you can do:

  • Book non-stop flights; the most carbon is emitted during takeoffs and landings.

  • Support local businesses that use sustainable methods, and buy products made by local artisans.

  • Travel with small group tour operators, which have less of an environmental impact.

  • Look for seals of approval indicating environmental certifications, such as Earthcheck, Green Globe, Rainforest Alliance, and Green Tourism.

  • Stay in hotels that make it a priority to be as environmentally low-impact as possible.

  • Calculate your personal travel carbon footprint, then offset your impact through an organization listed below.

  • Pack light, and bring clothing you can use repeatedly!

Resources:

A big part of your environmental footprint comes from the waste you accumulate by using products and resources that require some sort of disposal. Even the most advanced landfills leak toxins that put the health of living beings at risk. They also produce methane—a major contributor to global climate change. But good news: Boulder County Commissioners passed a Zero Waste resolution in 2005, with the ultimate goal to eliminate to production of waste and achieve zero waste by 2025.

Composting and recycling form the foundations of a sustainable lifestyle, because each time you divert material from the landfill, your environmental footprint gets smaller. Make sure you place recyclable items in their proper receptacles, and separate compostables from recyclables. Live a zero-waste lifestyle by purchasing items that can easily be reused, recycled, or composted.

Recycle

The facts:

  • From 2013-2014, CU diverted 42.7% of waste from the landfill, and sorted it to be recycled or composted!

  • CU was the first university in the country to establish a campus recycling program.

  • According to the EPA, in 2013, US inhabitants generated roughly 254 million tons of trash. Of that material, we recycled and composted about 87 million tons, or 34.4%. On average, that’s 1.5 pounds of recycled and composted material per person per day, and 4.4 pounds of waste per person per day.

  • Recycling 1 ton of mixed paper saves the energy equivalent of 185 gallons of gasoline.

  • The City of Boulder “Pay As You Throw” program charges residents based on the amount of trash they produce with no extra charge for recycling.

  • A national recycling rate of 30% reduces greenhouse gas emissions as much as removing nearly 25 million cars from the road.

What you can do:

  • Visit CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) to recycle anything from yoga mats to batteries in Boulder County.

  • Use any of the 10,000 desk side and 850 central recycling locations on campus to recycle office paper, newspaper, co-mingled containers (glass, plastic, and metal),
  • corrugated cardboard, and magazines, catalogs and phonebooks. Everything is clearly labeled for your convenience!

  • Know what can and cannot be recycled to reduce contamination. The Environmental Center has resources and information so you can stay in the know about what, when, and how to recycle! For a complete list of what is recyclable or compostable at CU or off-campus visit either the CU Recycling or the EcoCycle website.

Reduce and Reuse

The facts:

  • For every can of garbage at the curb, there are 87 cans worth of materials that come from the extraction industries (such as timber, agriculture, mining and petroleum) that manufacture natural resources into finished products.

  • The average coffee drinker throws away 250 cups per year, bringing us to roughly 58 billion cups disposed annually nation-wide. It takes 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water to produce the paper for these 58 billion cups. According to a study conducted by Starbucks and the Alliance for the Environmental Innovation, the manufacture of a single paper cup is responsible for 0.24 lbs of CO2 emissions.

  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. This means that each adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 pounds of trash for his or her (or other people's) children.

  • The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.

What you can do:

  • Donate slightly used items to Goodwill or ARC Thrift Stores.

  • Use old clothes, towels, or sheets (fabrics) as cloth napkins or cleaning rags instead of paper towels.

  • Bring your own bags when shopping! Keep some on hand or by the door so they’re easy to remember, and eventually it will become a habit.

  • Buy foods in bulk to reduce packaging and save a few bucks. Items such as shampoo, cereal, trail mix, and detergent can be bought again and again in reusable containers. Hemp bags are a great way to bypass plastic bulk bags!

  • The best way to divert items from a landfill is to simply reuse them. Fill your reusable water bottle with tap water instead of buying a new bottle every time you need a drink.

  • Try to avoid single-use products and excessive packaging. Invest in plates, mops and towels that you can use over and over, instead of ones you throw away after only a few uses.

Electronics

Tempting as it is to snag the fastest, newest models of technology as soon as they come out, it’s important to use electronics for as long as possible and not jump to replace them before they’re in poor condition. Make the sustainable choice, and think twice before throwing things away, especially when it comes to electronics. Even though we can’t see the effects of e-waste once it’s out of our site, the pollution that comes from technology is rapidly impacting the wellbeing of the planet and its people. Do your part to sustain a safe, healthy and happy earth!

The facts:

  • Electronic waste is the fastest-growing component of waste worldwide. In the US, we throw out about 130,000 computers daily and 100 million cell phones annually.

  • Smartphones have a slew of precious metals in them: gold, silver, platinum, copper, and rare earth metals such as Yttrium, Lanthanum, Neodymium and more are all present in the pocket-sized computers. On average, phones hold from 6-300 times more precious metal than the equivalent amount of ore from a mine. And currently, less than 1% of rare earth minerals are recycled, according to 911Metallurgist.

  • The average phone is replaced every 18 months.

  • Televisions and computers each contain 3-8 pounds of lead, and other toxic substances that pollute groundwater when put in landfills.

  • As of July 1, 2013, there is a ban in Colorado on throwing electronics in the landfill.

What you can do:

  • Recycle electronics! Eco-Cycle’s A-Z Recycling Guide has information on recycling your residential e-waste in Boulder.

  • For campus e-waste:

    • Click here for a list of cell phone collection locations

    • Click here for a list of battery collection locations

  • Community Resources:

    • CU Property Services ensures that all university-owned electronics are disposed of responsibly, following the highest industry standards for sustainability.

    • City of Boulder CHaRM: Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials  

      • CHaRM works with Electronics Recyclers International who are e-Steward Certified to assure electronic scrap is safely processed within developed countries.

      • Anyone is welcome to recycle at CHaRM, regardless of where you live! Visit CHaRM’s guidelines page for specifics on accepted materials and fees.

    • 100% of CU’s surplus electronics are diverted from landfill (approximately 260,000 lbs/year) by staff.

Energy

From stickers reminding you to turn bathroom lights off to campus-wide recycling, it’s easy to see that CU has taken many initiatives to become as environmentally-friendly as possible. However, much of what makes CU green isn’t visible when you’re walking around campus. There are many photovoltaic installations throughout campus that produce about 1,500,350 kWh/year… enough energy to power 1,5000 homes! CU Student Government also purchases offsets to neutralize the energetic impact made by both the UMC and the Rec Center.

It’s initiatives like these that have won CU the Sierra Club’s “Greenest School” award and the STARS Gold Rating. That being said, in many ways CU is only as green as its Buffs are. Though it is daunting to come to terms with the current state of the climate and its implications for our lifestyles, it’s time to step up to the plate and align energy usage with the realities of climate change. It’s time to live green!

Did you know:

  • In 2014, 60% of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 22% from natural gas, and 18% from renewable energy resources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

  • 80% of the electricity used in Boulder is produced at the Valmont Coal Fired Power Plant, and CU-Boulder is responsible for 4.7 tons of CO2 per student every year.

  • Items left plugged in to an outlet on standby can use up to 85% of the energy they would use if fully switched on

  • Lowering your thermostat by one degree saves between $44 and $73 on your yearly power bill.

  • CU-Boulder reduced its energy use by 23% from 2006-2013 despite a 28% increase in campus building space.

  • Through the purchase of offsets, both the UMC and the Rec Center are carbon neutral.

  • CU has many solar installations throughout campus, producing about 1,500,350 kWh/year- enough energy to power 1,500 homes!

What you can do:

  • Replace light bulbs with LED bulbs! They use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

  • Keep your thermostat set to 65 degrees in the winter and 71 degrees in the summer to make things more efficient and save yourself some cash. Harness your body heat and wear layers if you get chilly!

  • Turn all electronics completely off at night, and unplug any technology or appliances with indicator lights, for they still draw energy even when not in use. Chargers also draw energy from outlets even when they aren’t connected to anything, so make sure to unplug once you’re devices are charged!

  • Set your refrigerator to 40º F and freezer to 5º F… no need to over-chill groceries!

Community resources:

  • Sign up for a free SCORE (Student and Community Outreach on Renter Efficiency) visit!

    • Not only will you save money on your energy bills through energy efficient installations, but SCORE will also buy you a pizza if half of your roommates are home for the assessment!

  • Contact EnergySmart for a Home Energy Assessment or a Free Phone-Advising Service!

    • EnergySmart can help you save energy and money, as well as make your home more comfortable. Their services are available to residents in all Boulder County communities!

  • Check out a Watt meter from the Norlin circulation desk to figure out how much electricity you can save by unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use.

Water

It’s no secret that water is one of the most important resources on this planet. Over 30 million people rely on the Colorado River for food, water, recreation, energy, and work. And unfortunately, we’re using water so rapidly that the Colorado doesn’t even reach the sea anymore. The good news: sustainability starts with you! By consciously reducing water usage, we can start to set the Colorado back on track, one drop at a time. This doesn’t mean you can never shower again— small changes in consumption go a long way. And eventually, you’ll notice new, green habits come as second-nature!

Did you know:

  • The average American uses about 2,000 gallons of water each day.

  • A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water… you use an average of 2.5 gallons of fresh water for every minute you shower!

  • 95% of that water usage is hidden in the food, energy, and products we use:

    • one gallon of gasoline= 13 gallons of water

    • one hamburger= 634 gallons of water

    • one pair of jeans= 2,900 gallons

    • one plastic water bottle= 100 gallons

  • 50-80% of Colorado’s water supply comes from snowpack.

  • Colorado’s water demand is predicted to outpace supply by the year 2050.

  • The average home loses 11,000 gallons of water each year due to leaks.

  • Toilets account for 30% of an average home's indoor water consumption. Older, inefficient toilets use as much as 6 gallons per flush.

  • In addition to low-flow faucet aerators and high-efficiency urinals, dual-flush handles in CU restrooms reduce water usage up to 30% campus-wide.

What you can do:

  • Reduce your water usage by making sustainable choices! Using reusable products, taking public transportation, and buying second-hand clothes cuts hundreds of gallons from your consumption.

  • Take the Water for the West Pledge! For every pledge that CU receives, 1,000 gallons of water will be restored to the Colorado Basin. You can also text CUwater to 27126 to pledge.

At home:

  • Look for the WaterSense label to find water efficient products that help reduce water consumption and save money.

  • Turn off water while shaving or brushing teeth.

  • Switch your showerhead to a low-flow model and save up to 2,900 gallons per year, and about $1.10 per shower!

  • Shorten your showers by a minute or two and save up to 150 gallons per month.

  • Check toilets, faucets, showerheads, irrigation, and appliances for water leaks and fix them right away and save the same amount of water used in 270 loads of laundry!

At CU:

Community Resources:

  • Get a free water consultation through Center for Resource Conservation’s Slow the Flow to learn how to increase water use efficiency in your home! Slow the Flow has saved an estimated 66,720,000 gallons to date by providing 1,673 water consultations annually to Front Range residents.

Shopping and buying sustainably is a great way to reduce waste and emissions. Every purchase you make speaks to your values: you truly do vote with your dollar. Enhance your consumer power by reading labels and staying informed of company practices. Companies manufacture and carry the products that consumers demand: so let’s keep it green!

Local Economies

Did you know:

  • The system of how we produce, ship, consume and dispose of goods and food accounts for 42% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Local business generates 70% more local economic activity per sq. foot than big box retail.

  • The U.S. transports and ships $2.2 trillion worth of products from over 150 countries every year, using 1.1 billion gallons of fuel per year internationally.

  • If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at local and independent businesses instead of national chains, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy.

  • On average, American food travels about 1,500 miles from farm to consumer. In most communities, less than three percent of food consumption is locally-grown and locally-produced.

  • Shorter distances from producers to consumer requires less packaging.

  • A 10% shift of the produce to local use from one state’s farms would save 310,000 gallons of fuel on an annual basis, and would also reduce CO2 by 7.3 million lbs.

What you can do:

Community Resources:

Food

Did You Know?

  • CU defines local food that is grown, caught, or manufactured less than 250 miles away.  About 15% of CU Housing and Dining food comes from within 250 miles of CU.

  • On Scrape Your Plate Day in spring of 2015 (in which Environmental Center staff and volunteers collect and measure food waste generated by Buffs in campus dining halls), the average amount of food waste per person was .27 pounds.

  • Livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 35% of global methane emissions, which is 23 times more powerful in warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

  • 30% of Earth’s ice-free land is used for animal agriculture, and 70% of the grain grown in the United States goes to livestock feed.

  • Producing one pound of meat protein requires 12 times the land, 13 times the fossil fuels, and 15 times the water as one pound of soy protein.

  • Switching to a diet free of meat, dairy, and eggs saves 50% more carbon emissions than driving a Prius.

  • Agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater withdrawals.

  • 14.5% of US households are food insecure, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to sufficient foods. Meanwhile, 40% of US food supply ends up in landfills.

What you can do:

  • Eat local! Take advantage of the Boulder County Farmers Markets every Saturday from April-November in Boulder and Longmont, and Wednesdays from May-October in Boulder.

  • Support farmers and get produce directly from the farm on a regular basis by getting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Check out Farmshares for a list of CSA options in Boulder County.

  • Join CU in the Garden, a student organization at CU that works toward the goals of local food.

Community resources:

Green Purchasing Guidelines

Environmentally preferable products “have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose.” Live green by using green!

What you can do:

  • Avoid excess packaging. When given a choice, select the product that is not over-packaged. Boycott products with too much packaging, and eventually manufacturers will respond by creating products that are more environmentally-friendly! Whenever possible, reuse or recycle packaging.

  • Look for green labels that let you know the product is certified as environmentally responsible. Learn what various labels mean below.  

Eco Labels:

Green School Supplies

Boulder Bound Green Packing List

89% of CU Boulder students try to make environmentally sustainable choices in the way they live.  Here’s a top ten list for your school supplies.

When Moving to Boulder, New CU Students Bring/ Buy:

  • A bike, U-lock and bike light

  • Reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.  Every residence hall has a filtered water fill station.

  • Used or recycled furnishings. Check out Boulder’s Tour de Thrift.

  • Recycled-content paper, notebooks and school supplies

  • A power strip for plugging in chargers, electronics and appliances

  • Energy-saving CFL or LED bulbs

  • Reusable shopping bags

  • Reusable utensils for eating on the go

  • Rechargeable batteries

  • Environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies, including cold water laundry detergent

There are several simple ways you can combat holiday consumption. Instead of using wrapping paper, use reusable materials to decorate your gifts! Old newspapers and fabrics make for excellent giftwrap. Why not turn the holidays into an opportunity to benefit humans around the world? Start sustainable traditions next holiday season and give green. We can turn the most consumptive time of year into an opportunity to work towards universal social and environmental justice… and that’s something worth celebrating.

Celebrate Sustainably:

Did you know:

  • Though just five percent of the world’s population, the US creates half of the globe’s solid waste.

  • Americans generate an average of 25 percent more waste, or 1 million extra tons per week, between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out annually—enough to tie a bow around the Earth!

What you can do:

  • Wrap gifts sustainably, using newspapers or reused boxes or bags!

  • Instead of cutting down a tree, decorate a houseplant or buy a live tree that can be planted in the spring.

  • Give Heifer: Donate an animal, fund a project, or support sustainable farming for families around the world instead of contributing to the influx of holiday consumption. A flock of chicks is only $20!

  • Give a Kiva Card: Through Kiva microloans, you can lend as little as $25 to individuals and communities in need to help create opportunity around the world.

Community Resources:

Green Valentine’s Day!

Did you know?

  • More than 3,000,000 tons of cacao beans are produced every year.

  • The Ivory Coast has been the world’s leading producer of cacao beans since 1978.

  • The United States eat roughly half of the world’s chocolate products. One estimate has us each eating around 11 pounds of chocolate per year.

  • Because of the large global demand for chocolate, in many countries old-growth forests have been cleared for cultivation space.

  • Cruel and unethical labor is all too common of a practice in the cacao industry, and charges of slave labor are often leveled against West African cacao growers. Many farmers of cacao beans live in poverty due to low wages paid for beans.

What you can do?

  • Buy Fair Trade-certified cacao! Fair trade goods come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated, and work to positively influence communities rather than exploit them.

  • Believe it or not, flowers can be fair trade-certified as well! Fair Trade certification ensures that workers on large-scale flower farms have access to unions, receive better wages, and work under safe conditions

Green Valentine’s Guide:

  • Send an e card:

    • Every year 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are produced, purchased, and promptly discarded. No need to create more waste when you can send love electronically!

    • Send a free Valentine’s Day Ecard through the World Wildlife Fund… because nothing says I love you like kissing zebras.

    • Make dinner at home:

      • Sure, dinner out is supposed to be a quintessential component of a romantic Valentine’s Day. But according to the Green Restaurant Association, a single restaurant in the US can produce approximately 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste per year. Plus, it’s hard to be sure ingredients are local and organic when you go out to eat. Dining in is a significantly more sustainable option, and you can impress your sweetie with a home-cooked, green meal! Or cook together... but be careful the kitchen doesn’t get too hot!

      • Buy ingredients in bulk to cut down packaging, and compost uncooked organic waste to keep your meal as sustainable as possible.

      • Check out Sustainable Table for eco-friendly recipes.

      • Make extra and share your leftovers with someone in need to spread the love.

    • Use green candles:

      • Candlelight is a perfect way to set the mood, and use less energy! However, most cheap candles are made from paraffin wax, which consists of alkane hydrocarbons and is a byproduct of oil refining. When burned, the fumes can contain multiple carcinogens that pollute the air.

      • Instead, opt for soy wax or beeswax candles! Check labels to be sure candles are indeed 100% paraffin free.

    • Donate your time:

      • Instead of spending money on each other, why not give time together to an organization doing great work in the world?

      • Visit the Volunteer Resource Center for volunteer opportunities in Boulder, or come up with your own way to give back! You don’t have to make a grand gesture to make a difference: hit the trails together or stroll down the creek path and pick up all the garbage you see. The earth deserves your affection too!

Green Office Supplies

Sustainable Cleaning Products

  • All departments using cleaners should follow the Chemical Cleaner Preferable Purchasing Program, which requires that the cleaning products used on University properties be certified by Green Seal or meet the Manufacturers Product Assessment Tool criterion.

Sustainable Supplies: Computers, Fax Machines, Printers and Copiers

  • Use flat-panel LCD computer monitors for the best performance and energy use.

  • Look for products with minimal packaging and shipping.

  • Pay attention to products’ energy conservation, labeling, materials selection, end of life management and packaging considerations.

  • Choose EnergyStar electronics, and products that are recommended by the EPA!

  • EPEAT, which stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, is an easy-to-use, on-line tool helping institutional purchasers select and compare computer desktops, laptops and monitors based on their environmental attributes.

    • EPEAT was developed using a grant by EPA and is managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC). It is dedicated to informing purchasers of the environmental criteria of electronic products. GEC's EPEAT Website provides guidance for purchasers and manufacturers.

More Resources:

Reducing Paper Use in the Office

Each sheet adds up! Even if your office is diligently using recycled paper, the best thing you can do is reduce and reuse as much paper as possible.

The facts:

  • Using paper products contributes to deforestation, the second leading cause of carbon pollution, causing 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Over 40% of wood pulp goes toward the production of paper.

What You Can Do

  • Reduce your paper use as much as possible:

    • Switch to digital literature.

    • Print double sided, and on the back of old documents when possible.

    • Write notes on the backs of used sheets of paper.

    • Eliminate excess mail by stopping junk mail.

  • Preview documents before printing and determine exactly how many copies of a document you need.

  • Email instead of faxing and mailing.

  • Use smaller fonts and narrower margins to use fewer sheets of paper when printing documents.

  • Create and utilize an electronic filing system instead of storing documents in file cabinets.

  • Plant a tree in your community.

Recycled Paper

The Facts:

  • Producing recycled paper uses 40% less energy and creates 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution than producing paper from virgin wood pulp.

  • CU-Boulder has strategic pricing agreements with vendors so using recycled-content paper is as cost-effective as virgin paper. CU’s restrooms are stocked with 100% recycled paper (paper towels and toilet paper).  CU departments are required to purchase minimum 30% recycled content office and copy paper from CU’s strategic supplier (Staples) via CU Marketplace.  100% recycled content paper is also available for about $10 more per case.  

  • CU has been purchasing more recycled paper than virgin paper since 1994.

  • Order recycled content paper: 100% recycled content means zero trees were felled for the product.  30% recycled content means that it is made of 30% recovered fibers and 70% virgin fibers from trees.  

  • Post-consumer recovered fiber content:  Higher amounts mean that the fiber came from municipal recycling not from manufacturing waste.  These products help close the recycling loop.  

  • Purchase paper that is chlorine free or uses the Elemental Chlorine Free Bleaching Process.

  • In the US, most paper is now “elemental chlorine free” (ECF).  “Processed chlorine free” (PCF) and “Totally Chlorine Free” (TCF) are the safest, environmentally-preferred technologies for bleaching paper fibers.

  • Look for products with the Green Seal, a prominent certification organization for green products.

What you can do:

  • When purchasing paper products for your office, for large print jobs, for back-to-school supplies, look first for post-consumer recycled content, then look for pre-consumer and agricultural residue content. When virgin fiber is used, ensure that it is not sourced from Ancient and Endangered Forests and that it comes from a Forest Stewardship Council certified forest area.

  • Use of recycled paper for official campus stationary is already standard at 30% recycled content paper. Look for paper with at least 50% recycled content.

  • Recycle all paper used in the office.

  • Avoid purchasing paper that is bright, dark or deeply dyed.

Resources:

  • Recycled Paper Guide: know what’s in your paper!

  • Eco-cycle’s How to stop junk mail: information on greening your mailbox!

  • What you can do:

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room, and use daylight when possible.

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent units. See our section on energy for more information!

  • Turn off your computer when you leave the office. Turn off your computer’s monitor or put it in “sleep” mode for short-term breaks. Screen savers don’t save energy!

  • Check the vents and air ducts, and inform facilities management if they seem clogged or have poor circulation.

  • Use electronics with Energy Star labels.

  • Lower the thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer. Open a window in pleasant weather to get fresh air, and insulate windows during the hottest and coldest months.

Conserving Energy at the Office

  • Looking for Labels on Paper Products
  • The United States alone, which has less than 5% of the world's population, consumes 30% of the world's paper.

  •  
  • Reducing paper use reduces greenhouse gases: reducing 400 reams of paper is equivalent to 1.25 acres of pine forest absorbing carbon for a year.

If you have ideas for topics or resources to include, please share by emailing Ecenter@colorado.edu!

Green your Space

Tips for making your living or working space more better for you and the planet

On-Campus Resources

CU Green Office

CU Green Labs

Residence Hall Green Room Certification

Family Housing Green Apartment Certification (forthcoming)

Off-Campus Residential Resources

ECO-Visits for student rentals

EnergySmart for Boulder County homeowners

Green Greeks