This is a joyful time of the year, full of festive decorations, delicious meals, and gift exchanges. However, it is also the most wasteful time of year, with the highest rates of trash and recycling generated between November and February. Many of the materials consumed during holiday celebrations end up in landfills, which are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. Read on for some tips to reduce, reuse, recycle, and save energy this season. And if you will be taking some time away from the University, please see our shut-down reminders to save energy in your absence.
- Reuse decorations and gift-wrapping items whenever possible.
- Look into sustainable holiday decor ideas.
- Take advantage of holiday tree recycling programs, like the one offered in Rochester.
- Use energy efficient lights to decorate your home.
- Shop local – there are a bunch of holiday fairs with local vendors that pop up during the season. A few upcoming fairs are the Roc Holiday village, Holidays at the Market and The Lucky Flea. Support small businesses and farms to reduce your CO2 footprint!
- Get creative with gift ideas. Make someone a zero waste kit.
- Shop for brands that are eco-friendly. Click here to view some of them.
- When making shopping trips, remember to take a reusable bag with you.
- Send electronic greeting cards instead of physical ones.
- Use reusable dishes and utensils for your holiday gatherings at home. Avoid single use plastics.
- Avoid food waste by storing leftovers instead of trashing them. Alternatively, try to cook only as much as you need and pass along donatable food you don’t need to shelters.
Shut down reminders
If you are leaving campus for a break, use our Energy Saving Checklist to make sure you are properly shutting down your office or dorm room before taking off. Please remember to:
- Unplug all appliances before leaving.
- Empty refrigerators and turn them off if they will not be used by anyone else.
- Lower your thermostat to 60 degrees. For assistance or questions, call the Facilities Customer Service Center at 585-273-4567.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Turn off all the lights.
Contact your department to check if there are any department specific guidelines to follow before leaving.
We thank you for the efforts you make to reduce your energy and resource consumption at the University of Rochester. From all us at Facilities Team Green, we wish you the warmest season’s greetings!
Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022
Photo Above: Holiday Fair with several local vendors at Wilson Commons on December 3, 2021