By UW Recycling | Mar 31, 2020
man working at computer

Reducing the amount of waste we produce and diverting material to recycling and compost is a major aspect of sustainability.  Although you don’t have access to all the campus resources, you can still stay sustainable while teleworking.

Due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, waste reduction hasn’t been so easy. With bulk sections in grocery stores being closed, bring your own container initiatives being limited, and dine in options at restaurants no longer being available, it makes reducing waste tough. Despite these difficult and necessary changes, use these tips to help prioritize waste reduction at home:

Make Something!

  • Food
    • Make a Sourdough or Kombucha starter! All you need are a few simple ingredients. 
    • Who doesn’t love snacking? Consider making your own treats instead of buying prepackaged store bought snacks.
      • Veggie chips! Take any vegetables you have, slice them, toss in oil and spices, and bake! 
      • Watch all the ways you can spice up homemade fries
      • Granola bars! So many different varieties to make. 
  • Health & Self-Care
    • Now is as good as a time as ever to treat yourself. Use items in your pantry to make your own face masks! Simple ingredients like oatmeal, honey, spices, and fruits can do wonders for your skin. 
    • Better yet, check out ways to use your food scraps like used tea bags as skin toner or banana peels to shine your shoes.

Sustainable stress-free grocery shopping! 

  • Since you’re eating at home, try out switching single-serving products with items that have less packaging. 
  • Avoid plastic produce bags: bringing your own bag and washing your produce thoroughly before consumption is still a safe choice. 
  • Make a meal plan: simplify shopping, plan ways to use leftovers, and be prepared when your temporary office helpers have questions about dinner. Here are some great low waste recipes from the Zero Waste Chef.
  • Consider ditching disposable paper towels for kitchen towels to clean up messes and dry your hands. 

Recycle Right

Local rules might look different at home than it would on campus. Here are some local recycling resources: 

UW Recycling and Waste Reduction

UW Recycling provides and facilitates waste management services for the University of Washington Seattle campus. By reducing the overall waste the UW  generates and diverting waste away from the landfill, UW has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by over 11,000 tons in the last year alone. UW has a current waste diversion rate of 61% and has set a sustainability goal of 70% waste diversion on campus by the end of 2020.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Citrix.