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It’s that time of the year again when we all start thinking of goals to improve ourselves for the next 365 days. While most New Year’s resolutions deal with personal growth, there are some ambitions that can improve our energy use as well. To try to motivate and show others how easy it is to reduce energy, I’m going to adopt a new energy saving technique each week for the next month.

I’ll let you know Monday’s which strategy I’m going to try and give you updates about how it goes during the week. By the end of the month I’ll be able to implement all the techniques and be an energy saving machine! Any tips, suggestions, or questions are welcomed during this attempt, and I will tell you all about my personal experiences.

WEEK THREE

CHALLENGE:

It’s week three already and I’m still going strong! This week’s challenge is to waste less and recycle more. First I’m going to lose the disposable dishware and bring in reusable plates, cups etc. At our office we have a lot of paper plates, paper bowls and plastic utensils for employees to use. While convenient, it would be much better for us to use mugs for coffee and regular plates and forks instead of tossing-out paper products every day. We can just wash and reuse, and then we won’t run out of supplies either.

The second way I’m going to eliminate waste is by using e-mail, taking electronic notes, printing on both sides of a sheet of paper and literally recycling.  Instead of printing out information for another employee, I can easily e-mail it and remind him or her to save it to the computer. I can also write notes in a word processing document rather than using a paper notebook.

GOAL:

Printing on both sides of the paper is pretty self explanatory in terms of saving paper and energy, while reducing waste. Recycling papers and plastics is also an obvious solution, but is often overlooked. The key to making this more popular is by putting recycling bins near garbage cans. A lot of the time people would recycle if the proper receptacle was near, but just throw it in the trash to get rid of it sooner. By putting recycling bins next to the garbage people won’t have to go out their way and it will be just as easy to dispose.

I will still being doing the steps from the previous two weeks and will keep you in the loop on how it all goes!

SEE EMILY'S PROGRESS UPDATES HERE

This week has been by far the easiest to implement my new energy saving tasks. E-mailing and recycling are staples in the office anyway, but simply moving the recycling bins next the garbage cans has made the transition seamless. My supervisor is also now only printing out a few copies of meeting topics for our meetings so we can look on with a partner and then she e-mails us the document afterwards. This has cut the amount of meeting papers we use in half with basically no effort.

I found out the key to reusable dishware is leaving it at the office. I was bringing in a mug and silverware in my lunchbox (yes, I’m still bringing my lunch!) and then taking it home to clean. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring it back one day and had to rely on its wasteful, plastic counterpart.  Now I know to leave everything at work and just wash it before I leave for the day.

Remember everyone, I’m still doing all the energy saving techniques from the last two weeks and this week’s too and it’s been really easy. You can do it too!

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