This page includes ideas and suggestions on how to implement many of the criteria for Green Office Certification, and other related resources.

Sustainable Habits

Cleaning Products

Why make the switch to green products? Because: many non-natural products contain phosphorus or nitrogen that drains into Lake Washington or the Puget Sound, disrupting delicate eco-systems.  Some cleaning green brands include Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, Mrs. Meyers, Green Works and Nature’s Source. Watch out for brands that simply claim they are "natural," "organic" or "biodegradable" as these words have very loose definitions in the commercial world. Here are some product recommendations.

Networked Printers

A network printer is connected to the internet and allows multiple computers to print to it. Having a network printer in the Chapter will reduce the need for desktop printers, thus saving energy, maintenance cost, and space.  You can purchase inexpensive printers from online sellers and if you are lucky, you might find one at UW Surplus

Junk Mail

You can start the process to stop receiving junk mail by opting out of receiving mail from major consumer reporting companies. That’s a lot less mail to sort, and you're helping save one of the 100 million trees that are cut down for junk mail!

Energy Reduction

Light Reminders

Put these cute Bark! Bark! Go Dark! stickers over your light switches to remind chapter members to turn off the lights! Ask EcoReps to provide you with some.

CFLs & LEDs!

Compact Florescent Light bulbs, or CFLs, are more efficient by 3 times the light per watt than normal incandescent light bulbs. CFLs have an average lifetime of about 9 years while most incandescent bulbs last less than a year. These light bulbs are becoming increasingly popular because of their energy saving properties and can be found at most hardware stores. But CFLs must be disposed of properly because they contain Mercury.  Read more!

LEDs last 25,000 hours (over 10 years!) and contain fewer harmful materials than CFLs.  Although they are more expensive,  an LED lightbulb will save you $160 dollars over an incandescent throughout a 10 year period.  Think we're making this up?!

Energy Star Appliances

Energy Star is a government program with the goal of reducing our energy consumption. Energy Star appliances meet strict energy guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Using Energy Star appliances can help you save up to a third on your energy bill.

Waste Diversion

Waste Audits

A waste audit the process of sorting through a garbage dumpster and identifying how much of that garbage could be recycled or composted. The results are used to reduce waste and ideally save your Chapter house money. Apply to see if your house qualifies for a free waste audit! 

Recycling

By recycling about 30% of our waste every year, Americans save the equivalent of 11.9 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road. It also prevents air and water pollution. In Seattle, recycling is a free service that saves you money by diverting garbage from your dumpster and putting into recycling, saving you space. Read more here, and if you haven't already, set up service!

Composting

Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil. By diverting food scraps and other organic matter from your garbage, you are creating a useful product from waste. If you aren’t already composting, contact Cedar Grove Composting for a collection bin.

Application for free posters such as a Food & Compostables poster, a Recycling and Garbage poster can be found here.

Recycled Paper

When your Chapter purchases paper for printing, purchase at least 75% recycled paper. Here's why:

  • It helps preserve forests, because it reduces demand for wood;
  • It conserves resources and generates less pollution during manufacturing, because the fibers have already been processed once; and
  • It reduces solid waste, because it diverts usable paper from the waste stream.

Read more!

E-Media Recycling

E-media is electronic waste from computers, monitors, printers, TVs, cell phones, PDAs, fax machines, stereos, DVD and VCR players, household electronics and rechargeable batteries. King County recycles these hazardous materials for free. Create a collection box and drop it off at the nearest location.

Fluorescent Bulb and Tube Recycling

Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes have small amounts mercury in them, and if they are not properly recycled, the mercury can leach into soil and water from a landfill. Seattle Public Utilities does not recycle them, so create a collection box and recycle them at one of these collection sites.

Husky Neighborhood Cleanup

The University of Washington provides reusable goods collection for donations, and extra recycling and garbage services at the end of the year for move out time. Check out the website to take advantage of it.

Bathroom and Laundry

Low-Flow Appliances

Low-flow shower heads and faucets reduce water flow by 30–70% over traditional heads and faucets. The obvious benefit is saving water, but these also save energy that was required to heat the water that is now saved. 

Natural vs. Chemical Soaps

Chemicals from soaps and shampoos are passing through filters at water treatment plants and are beginning to be seen not only in bodies of water like the Sound, but also our drinking water. So purchase natural soaps that are better for the environment, and your body.

Dual Flush Toilet Kits

Save water by installing a dual flush toilet conversion kit. The process is inexpensive and quite easy. Flushing one way reduces the amount of water used to flush, and flushing the other uses the normal amount. Dual flush toilet converters can be found at local hardware stores or online.

Laundry

Up to 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating the water. By using the cold water setting to do laundry and washing full loads you can save energy and save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month. 

Tide sells detergent specifically for the cold water setting too.

Community Connections

Talk to EcoReps or directly with the organizations to connect with your community!

Rainwater Catchment

Rainwater catchment is the process of collecting and utilizing rain water that would otherwise be runoff. A rainwater catchment system can be used simply to water plants and the lawn, or more extensively by installing plumbing to use water for toilets and even faucets! For more information, including monetary incentives, check out what the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment is offering.

Compost and Urban Gardening

Home composting is beneficial both for the environment and for your soil. Compost acts as an natural and organic fertilizer that provides soil with healthy nutrients, as well as blocks pollutants from entering our water stream. For more information visit King County's website or start your own easy backyard compost bin now!

If you are interested in starting your own garden, the City of Seattle offers some tips here. If you would like to build a Rain Garden (a garden designed to collect and filter polluted rainwater or runoff from the Puget Sound), read more and receive incentives through tax rebates.

Adopt a Street

Help keep our beautiful city clean by adopting a street with your house.

Green Philanthropy and Volunteering

Donate to local environmental organizations like Seattle Tilth, Fortera, or Solid Ground, or to national organizations like Green Peace, Sierra Club, or 350.org. Volunteer for wetland restoration, parks and shoreline improvement, or river cleanups. There are many different organizations and movements to help, you choose!

Events

How can you make your events green?

Promotion

  • Creating an event on Facebook: By creating an event on Facebook, you are nearly done with your advertisement. Social media can help spread the word of your event without using resources like flyers that can waste paper. 
  • Advertising on Twitter: Twitter can help you update the public on any changes to your event. Tag chapter members to your posts or answer any questions directly by tagging those who have questions to your post.
  • Using your chapters' Instagram: Post pictures of your members at events or advertise photos from past events.
  • Sending emailed flyers: Even if you think you're overloaded with email, it's still a great way to send flyers and event posts to others.

Materials

The best option for serving is using regular dishes and silverware that can be washed and re-used again and again. But if you need to use disposable tableware, make sure it's compostable. Some options for compostable tableware include: Party City (for fun events); EcoPalm (for more formal events); and Susty Party (for larger orders).

There are many options for compostable cups, but if your house uses Solo Cups you can recycle and earn rewards. TerraCycle runs a program that allows you to recycle and send in your Solo Cups and receive points that can turn into rewards. TerraCycle will donate $0.02 to your charity of choice or school for each item that you donate. This can add up quickly. The best part about it is, all you have to do is collect and send it in. 

Food

Not only does buying local food help support your local farm families and build community, but it is better for you, tastes better, and helps support a clean environment with less of a need for transportation. For a perspective on where some of the food you purchase comes from, see this video.

Transportation

U-PASS

Your U-PASS can be used to get anywhere in King County and further! 

UW Sustainability

The Pledge

Take the pledge to become more sustainable.

Additional Information

If you have any other questions, please contact EcoReps at ecoreps@uw.edu and we will answer and help every way possible!

This is a great website for green household products make sure to check out water saving products!

If you need funding to help get your house started contact the CSF Outreach Coordinator at uwcsf@uw.edu he’s in charge of outreach for the Campus Sustainability Fund a fund available for all students to apply for money to help them with projects to improve sustainability

Check out this countrywide effort to help Chapters become more environmentally friendly. Though it hasn’t yet come to the UW, they still have some pretty good tips on their website.

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