Items That Individuals and Families Can Do

Items That Individuals & Families Can Do



  • Reduce car trips by walking, biking or using public transit
  • When replacing your car make energy-efficiency the top priority
  • Avoid unnecessary idling of motor vehicles or gasoline lawn mower


  • Avoid throwaway items like paper coffee cups and plastic bags. Use a reusable travel mug and cloth shopping bags
  • Buy used goods when possible
  • Avoid over-packaged goods and don't buy anything you don't really need
  • Compost kitchen scraps of plastic wrap/bags, avoid single serving items such as yogurt, use travel mugs for daily coffee/tea
  • Instead of bottled water try a reusable jug filled with chilled tap water or use treated water, wherever possible 



Energy conservation

  • Unplug coffeemakers, toasters and microwaves. Make sure they’re unplugged on weekends and before shutting the office down for the holidays
  • Make your house more energy efficient (heating, cooling, appliances, light bulbs) to cut back on fossil fuel use (including for generating electricity)


  • Buy locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables to minimize food miles and pesticide use
  • Practice organic, low-maintenance lawn and garden care
  • Where feasible, start an organic waste composting program
  • When traveling, provide a set of re-usable dishware– i.e. plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, etc.
  • Use environmentally-safe, non-toxic, biodegradable dish soap and cleaning products
  • Read Green Kitchens 101 for more information


  • Promote office litterless lunches – i.e. reusable containers instead
  • Switch to green office supplies where available (i.e. recyclable paper, toner cartridges, pens, etc)
  • Consider the environmental impact of all purchasing decisions relating to workshops, conferences and meetings:
    • Choose venues that are transit accessible and provide waste diversion
    • Procure local food from green caterers
    • Minimize the printing of presentations, agendas, etc.
  • Turn off meeting room lights when not in use
  • In the summer, unnecessary lighting can increase air conditioning load
  • Dim, turn off or remove lights near windows in the daytime
  • Use efficient task lighting where needed
  • Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator, if I am able to. It not only saves energy, it is good exercise
  • Keep entrance doors closed
  • Use the revolving doors into my office building. Revolving doors keep heat and cool air inside
  • Use standby mode for computers and copiers. These tend to be in use only a fraction of the time they are turned on
  • Turn all equipment off at the end of the day. This includes lights, copiers, computers and computer monitors
  • Use paper-reducing strategies. Consider double-sided printing, re-using paper, and using e-mail instead of mailing or faxing documents