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Washington State University

Wellbeing Online

Sustainable Living

Recycle Bag

Use these easy tips to reduce your energy consumption in your day to day life!

1. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.

2. Turn your computer off at night. During the day when it is not in use, turn it to sleep mode instead of screen saver.

3. Unplug chargers, TVs, and any other electronic devices in your room at night or when not in use.

4. Charge electronics during the day and not at night. These devices really only need two hours to charge.

5. Plug appliances into a power strip that can be easily switched off to avoid phantom energy from sucking unnecessary energy at night or when not in use.

6. Make sure your windows are shut tightly to avoid loss of heat in the winter and to avoid the air conditioning from turning on in the summer.

7. Use Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL) as much as possible, use a smaller task lamp for lighting instead of high energy consuming overhead lights.

8. Keep your refrigerator door closed tightly. To check if it closes securely, close a dollar bill in the door and if it is easy to get out, you need to repair your door seal.

9. When getting food from the fridge, try to open the door as few times as possible, get everything out at once.

10. Make sure your fridge is not turned down too low. The ideal temperature is 41 degrees F.

11. Utilize Public Transportation or ride a bicycle.

12. In the winter, open curtains to allow sunlight to warm your room. In the summer, close curtains to keep your room cool and to prevent the air conditioning from running too much.

13. If you get cold, try putting on more clothes or using a blanket as an alternative to turning up the heat. Do not use space heaters; one space heater takes as much electricity as running 12 computers.

14. When washing clothes, use cold cycles as much as possible to cut electricity from heating water. Hang your clothes to dry as often as possible instead of using the dryer. Only run the washer and dryer with full loads to cut down on the number of loads.


A great way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Reusing used goods is a great way to reduce your waste.

Try implementing these habits to waste less by reusing products.

1. Donate your old clothing, appliances, tools, etc. You will allow others to reuse your old items.

2. Buy used items. You will save money and can get items still in great condition.

3. Maintain and repair products frequently so they last longer before needing to be replaced.

4. Buy reusable products and avoid using disposable products.

5. Borrow, rent, or share products that are used infrequently.


Resources for Donating Specific Goods and Materials
Households and Personal Items
Building Materials

Here are some fun ways to reuse items you might otherwise throw away. Have fun crafting!


Recycling may seem like a complex undertaking but once you learn the basics it can become second nature.

Recycling is a way to ensure that our old items get returned to the resource pool instead of going into a landfill. It saves energy by avoiding the manufacture of new products from scratch and can decrease pollution due to waste disposal.


The first step is to know what can and cannot be recycled in your area. 

As a general rule, most of the following items are recyclable but you do need to check your local policies:

  • Glass drinking bottles without lids
  • Cartons for milk, juice, ect.
  • Paper
  • Aluminum drink cans
  • Tin cans
  • Plastics with recyclable symbols on them without lids
  • Some supermarkets collect plastic bags

Some items can't be recycled and can contaminate whole bins of recyclables. These are some items to watch out for:

  • Light bulbs
  • Plastics without recycling symbols
  • Drinking glasses, crockery, Pyrex or other oven-proof glass, ceramics
  • Carbon paper, foil, laminated paper, gift ribbon
  • Stickers
  • Foil chip bags
  • Mirrors and window glass
  • Broken glass
  • Items contaminated with food spills

Find out what recycling programs exist in your area and become part of your communities organized recycling collection.

Water Conservation

The average person in the US uses approximately 159 gallons of water each day while more than half the world only uses around 25 gallons a day.

Use these tips to reduce your water consumption and be more green!

1. Get a low flow shower head to replace a conventional one. It only takes a few minutes to install and only costs a few dollars to purchase.

2. Time your showers and cut a minute or two off your shower time.

3. Combine loads of laundry as much as possible and only run the washer when you have a full load. If you have access to a High Efficiency washer, try using that as an alternative to Laundromats.

4. Use selective flushing -This seems crude, but you can save a lot of water by not flushing every time you pee. Older toilets use 3 gallons per flush!

5. Eat less meat; 1,500 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef. Supplement your diet with greens and fruits.

6. Only run the dishwasher with full loads. Make sure both the top rack and bottom rack are full. If you hand wash your dishes, only run water when rinsing, and turn the water pressure down.

7. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth

8. Don't flush tissues, paper towels, sanitary products or cigarettes down the toilet. They contaminate our

water ways and are hard to separate at the waste water treatment plant.

9. Maintain all faucets and regularly check and repair any leaks. A leaky faucet that drips just one time every three seconds can waste up to a gallon of water a day.

10. Fill plastic bottle with water and put in toilet tank. This reduces the amount of water used per flush.

11. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator to keep from running the tap and waiting for cooler water.