With Earth Day approaching, we caught up with Indiana University’s Environmental Health and Safety team to get advice on how we can do our part every day to keep our campus environments healthy and safe.
Consider household cleaner use carefully. Even if the bottle uses words like “green,” it’s important to check the labels on products you purchase to clean your room, office or home. Avoid household cleaners that are corrosive or contain flame retardants, phthalates or PFOS/PFAS. When disposing of these products, contact Residential Programs and Services, or find disposal resources and information on protect.iu.edu.
Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce waste by only purchasing what you need, so there’s less to throw away. Take advantage of the blue recycling containers throughout your campus, and go paperless whenever you can. Find out more recycling tips and practices from the IU Office of Sustainability. Try purchasing used clothing, furniture and other items before buying something new. Turn off lights when you leave a room, and use higher efficiency lighting and appliances to increase energy efficiency and reduce your environmental impact.
Pick up litter or report concerns. If you see litter on the ground or in waterways on campus, and there’s not a safety concern, pick it up and throw it away. We can all do our part to keep our campuses clean. If you notice a pollution concern that is unsafe to take care of yourself, like a discoloration of the grass where a chemical could have been spilled, a chemical smell or a container leaking liquid, contact Environmental Health and Safety to investigate it.
Walk, bike or share a ride. Riding your bike to classes, using public transportation, carpooling or walking are greener ways to get around. Using alternate modes of transportation is a good way to increase exercise and can save you money while also reducing your environmental impact.
Doing your part on Earth Day and every day can help keep our campuses beautiful and safe spaces to live and learn.
Information provided by Environmental Health and Safety’s Graham McKeen, assistant university director of public and environmental health; Susan Howard, IU Bloomington environmental manager; and Alexis Lewis IUPUI environmental manager.