by Lindsey Abernathy | January 21, 2016
January may be nearing an end, but the beginning of a new semester is a great time to set goals that benefit you, your wallet and the planet. To get you started, the Office of Sustainability has compiled a few sustainable resolutions that are easy to achieve in Oxford.
1.) Recycle correctly – Since the items that can be recycled vary from city to city, knowing what to recycle can be confusing. But, it’s important to learn which items are recyclable in Oxford and which items should go in the waste bin. Tossing trash, food or cups containing liquid into a recycling bin will contaminate the entire bin, meaning that all of the recycling will be thrown out as trash. For a quick guide on how to recycle in Oxford, check out this short video.
2.) Refill, refill, refill! – With more than 26 hydration stations located across campus, refilling your reusable water bottle is easy (and free!). Opting for reusable is good for your wallet too: It’s estimated that it costs $1,400 annually to drink the recommended 8 cups of water per day from a single use bottle; if you opt for water from hydration stations and the tap, you’ll spend less than 50 cents this year on water. Don’t have a water bottle? Consider purchasing a H2Otty water bottle from the UM Green Fund. You’ll get a Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle, and the money you spend on your bottle will go back into the Green Fund to help implement sustainable projects on campus.
3.) Get outside – It may be cold, but the benefits of spending time outside are worth bundling up. Study after study suggests that engaging in activity in an outdoor setting will benefit you physically and emotionally. Take a walk on the South Campus Rail Trail or train for the upcoming Mighty 5k and Half Marathon, sponsored by the university’s own RebelWell, in February. If you’d like to train for a race with a group, the Oxford Park Commission is offering a Couch to 5k class to get runners ready for the Double Decker 5k in April.
4.) Eat meatless one day a week – Commit to eating meatless one day per week. It will be better for your health and better for the environment, as the meat industry is energy and water intensive. The popular Meatless Monday movement offers a variety of recipe ideas and resources. On campus, Freshii is a great choice for filling, vegetarian entrees ranging from burritos and brown rice bowls to salads and soups.
5.) Wash your clothes in cold water – It’s a common misconception that clothes must be washed in warm water when in actuality, hot water can wear out clothes faster by contributing to the fading of dyes and the loss of shape of your clothing. Since heating water accounts for about 75 percent of your load of laundry’s energy costs, switching to cold is good for you clothes, your energy bill and the environment. Remember, cold means clean.