UCSF Sustainability Stories

10 LivingGreen Resolutions for 2014

2014Happy New Year! 

While you are contemplating your resolutions for the year, here are a few easy suggestions for ways to LiveGreen in 2014.  With over 20,000 employees, each of us can take one small action that collectively can make a big difference.

Recycle Your Holiday Items

llightsIn the aftermath of the holiday, wondering what to do with all the stuff left behind? Before you toss packaging, boxes, bows or broken light strings, check here to learn about organizations around the Bay Area (and beyond) that can help you be more green after the holidays.

Join the Race to Certification

Step 1All offices, labs and units at UCSF can now be LivingGreen Certified, helping the university promote a healthier planet by saving trees, reducing waste and using less energy. Join the Race to Certification, a friendly competition that rewards more sustainable practices at your office, lab or clinic/unit. Step up and become the informal, volunteer green champion to oversee the certification process.  Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to get started.

Ditch Your Personal Desktop Printer

PrinterReplace your personal desktop printer for a multifunction machine that is capable of performing all the printing, copying, scanning and faxing needs of the office. Using one newer, larger multifunction machine saves energy, reduces paper consumption and generates less waste from toner cartridges than using multiple personal printers. If you think your office has too many printers, you may benefit from UCSF’s Print Management Program.  Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to lease a multifunction printer/copier.

Toss Single Use Devices into Hygia and Stryker Bins

Hygia]For those of you working at the medical center, remember to place appropriate single-use-devices in the Hygia and Stryker bins, reduceing waste (diverting over 15,000 pounds from the landfill) and saving UCSF save almost $1 million per year.  If you don’t know where the bins are located, ask your supervisor.  Reprocessed non-invasive devices such as pulse oximeter sensors, pressure bags, DVT compression sleeves and blood pressure cuffs are reprocessed and repurchased through Hygia.  Reprocessed invasive devices such as cardiac catheters, suture passers, ultrasonic scalpels, drill bits and burrs are reprocessed and repurchased through Stryker.

Conserve Water and Report Water Leaks

Water leaksCalifornia’s driest year on record makes conserving water even more important this year.  An easy and low-cost way to conserve water is to install faucet aerators for every sink in your work area. Most faucets have a water flow ranging from 4 gallons per minute (gpm) to 6 gpm. By installing a high efficiency aerator, this can be reduced to either 1 gpm or 1.5 gpm, saving thousands of gallons of water per year.  Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to have aerators installed for free.

You can also do your part to LiveGreen by reporting water leaks to facilities management by calling 415-353-1120 at the Medical Center and 415-476-2021 on campus.  They will come at no charge to repair the leak! 

Ditch the Plastic Water Bottle for a Reusable One

BottleDo something good for the environment and your pocketbook—next time you head to campus, bring your refillable water bottle.  UCSF has installed several Global Tap water bottle filling stations on campus.  One can be found at Mulberry Union East near Palio’s, one is located at Mission Bay on Gene Friend Way near 3rd Street and one is outside of the new Aldea Community Center.  Here in San Francisco, our delicious tap water comes from pristine snowmelt in Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Unlike bottled water, our delicious Hetch Hetchy tap water costs less than half a penny per gallon, is quality tested over 100,000 times a year, and goes straight to your tap. In fact, tap water is also highly regulated by the EPA and across state and local water quality standards. See Drink Tap for more information.

Use Box to Organize and Store Files

BoxUsing electronic document storage saves paper and earns your workplace four points. As a member of the UCSF community, you’ll have access to Box, a web-based file storage and file sharing service. If you’re familiar with the popular service called Dropbox, Box works similarly, enabling you to store files and share files or folders with individuals or groups. It is intended to provide highly mobile users access to their data. Use Box to securely store, share and collaborate on documents both internally and externally. Learn more here.  Contact the Service Desk online or phone 415-514-4100 for assistance.

Chill-Up Your Freezer or -80C is the new -70C

According to MyGreenLab, chilling up your ultra-low freezer from -80 degrees Celsius (C) to -70C has two major benefits:  it can reduce energy consumption by 30% and in doing so it can prolong the life of your freezer.  This means less down time, and less chance that your samples will be compromised.

The UC Davis Store Smart program, encourages researchers to use science-based storage guidelines for their samples by ultra-low freezer temperature tuning (raising the set point by 10 degrees Celsius or more) or storing DNA at minus 20 degrees Celsius. At minus 70C, there are examples of microbial cultures, proteins, yeast strains and cell lysates, among other sample types, being stored for years.

Another easy way to earn certification points is to keep your freezer seal tight and free of frost. Brushing the seals of your freezer earns your lab four points.  Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to request a FREE freezer brush/scraper.

Use Rechargeable Batteries

BatteriesUsing rechargeable batteries reduces waste and earns your workplace four points.  Green Batteries provides helpful information on environmentally friendly NiMH and Li-ion rechargeable batteries and battery chargers.  While it will require a bit of investment in the beginning, it will pay off quickly and reduce the numbers of batteries going to landfills.

Sign up for the UCSF LivingGreen listserve

LiveGreenIt will only take a few seconds!  Sign up for the UCSF LivingGreen listserve on the Sustainability Web site homepage and receive periodic updates and cutting-edge content on how you can LiveGreen throughout 2014.

Story written by:  Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact