Sustainable UU, Sustainable me

Sustainable UU, sustainable me

At the Green Office, we are often asked for tips for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. There are so many simple ways that we can be more sustainable as we study and work so we decided to collect some of our ideas together in our new triangle campaign: Sustainable UU, Sustainable me.

The Green Office rarely produces printed media as we prefer to communicate digitally but we made an exception for this campaign in order to increase our visibility and to spread these sustainable tips as far as possible. The triangle was produced by Ecodrukkers and if you implement just a few of the ideas you can offset the production of the stand in no time!

More information about the tips on the triangle can be found below. If you would like to order a triangle, send an email to greenoffice@uu.nl
 

  • Reduce waste
  • Save energy
  • Vitality and sustainability

Reduce Waste

The best way to deal with waste is to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid packaging whenever possible.

Cups and bottles

Did you know that you can save money by using your own coffee cup?

In the Sodexo canteens, taking your own cup saves you 5 cents on your hot drink and using your own cup with a Selecta machine saves 11 cents. It also reduces the need to produce paper or plastic coffee cups and the need to dispose of them once they’ve been used.

Did you know that it requires 1 litre of water and 1 litre of oil to produce a single plastic bottle? 

The disposal of plastic bottles is also having a major impact on our environment, especially marine life because so much plastic ends up in the ocean. Using a refillable water bottle, such as a Dopper, and drinking tap water reduces the need for single-use plastic bottles.

Package-free food

Did you know you can order local fruits and vegetables every week to collect at our  Green Office?

Food packaging makes up a big portion of everyday waste. You can avoid food packaging altogether at lunchtime by eating a meal in the canteen on campus or bringing your own food in a lunchbox. Order a weekly Groentetas of locally produced fruits and vegetables from the Green Office.

In the office

Food and drinks aside, there are other ways you can avoid waste in the office. One example is to cut back on printouts. When printing is absolutely necessary, all UU printers print double-sided by default which automatically reduces the amount of paper needed. You can also reduce your font size and print more than one page per sheet to save even more page per print out. For employees, see the Sustainability in IT pages on the intranet.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Sometimes, waste is unavoidable. Thankfully, there are  more and more recycling bins at UU so that you can separate any waste you have and rest in the knowledge that all waste that can be recycled, will be.

 

Save Energy

Did you know that Utrecht University buys 100% green energy generated by wind turbines in the Netherlands?

This is statistic that we are very proud of at UU however, even with 100% green energy, reducing energy consumption is an important part of being more sustainable. Here are some simple ways that you can save energy in your office and beyond.

Keeping warm

Taking an extra layer to the office on cold days means that you can turn down the heating or turn it off altogether. You can also take this tip home and reduce your energy consumption by turning down the heating in your house too.

Let the sun shine in

Turn off lights in the office when the sun shining in provides enough natural light. Not only is natural light softer on your eyes, it is also free, green energy!

Sleep mode

To avoid using up energy when you’re not using your computer, set sleep mode to activate after 15 minutes of inactivity. This will put your computer into a state of low energy consumption but allow you to quickly resume work when you come back to it. To find out more about sleep mode and how to save energy when using your computer, employees find this on the intranet on the Sustainability and IT pages.

Turn it off

Turning off electronic devices is the best way to save energy. At the end of the day or whenever you leave the office, make sure all electricals, including computers, screens and projectors, are turned off. Even standby mode consumes energy so it’s important to turn off completely overnight and at the weekend.

 

Vitality and Sustainability

Making small changes to your daily habits can benefit the environment as well as your own health and quality of life. Here are some tips for going green that will make you feel great day to day.

Green travel

Cycling is very popular in the Netherlands and quality infrastructure makes it a fast and convenient way to travel. It is also the perfect green mode of transport as it cuts carbon emissions to zero. Keeping fit and living sustainably has never been easier! Public transport is a good alternative if cycling isn’t an option and it is much more environmentally friendly than using your own car.

You are what you eat

Making sustainable food choices is easier than you think. For local, organic produce order a weekly Groentetas from the Green Office and try out the delicious recipes that accompany the seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Did you know that global meat production contributes more to climate change than all the world’s planes, trains and automobiles combined?

Choosing vegan or vegetarian options more regularly is another easy way to reduce your environmental footprint. On campus, you can take advantage of hot vegan meals every Tuesday at the Educatorium canteen as well as freshly made vegan sandwiches throughout the week.

Stretch your legs

During a break, getting out of the office and into the fresh air can be invigorating and can help clear your head.

Did you know that for students and staff it’s free to take a walk in the UU Botanic Gardens? There you can bask in the beauty of the gardens and feel the benefits of being surrounded by nature.

Use you own energy

While you’re stretching your legs during your break, you might also be inspired to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Not only does this have physical benefits, it’s also another step in reducing energy consumption. Using the revolving door instead of the automatic doors at the entrances to buildings also contributions to saving energy.

Save your eyes

Another great way to save energy in the office is to turn down the brightness of your computer screen. The screen is a big contributor to the amount of energy used to run your computer so by simply turning the brightness down to 50% you can significantly reduce your energy consumption. A bright screen can also be harsh on your eyes so reducing the brightness may be beneficial if you spend several hours a day in front of your computer. For employees, see the Sustainability in IT pages on the intranet.

Green office environment

Having plants around the office creates a greener environment. It also improves the air quality and some research shows that it can reduce stress and even heighten productivity. You can adopt a spider plant for free from the Green Office! 

 

Do you have ways of being more sustainable in your office? Let us know your ideas so we can update our page with all your tips! Email the Green Office Utrecht on greenoffice@uu.nl.