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Archive of green tips

Apr 24


Published in 2014

Tonight marks the last Documentary Thursday of Earth Month. At 7:30 in Bensen 115 there will be a showing of TappedThis film takes a closer look at the water bottle industry and asks the question “Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce?”

This is obviously a big issue in the world we currently live in. Though we do not necessarily struggle with a water shortage in Minnesota, it is an issue that raises concern. What is the real price of every bottle of water purchased? Is it simply a question of sticker price? Sadly, the real cost is much higher.


Feb 20

Do It In The Dark

Published in 2014

Hello All,

Do It In The Dark is an energy-saving competition on campus. Each of the dormitories on campus is currently in the running to see who will save the most energy. This project makes students aware of how much energy they are consuming in their everyday lives. The goal of this competition is to reduce energy use as much as possible. The winning dormitory will be rewarded with a party, prizes, and the Do It In The Dark traveling trophy.

Enjoy the following tips and learn how to reduce your energy consumption:

Turn Off Your Lights:

This may seem simple, but remembering to flip the lights off when they aren’t necessary or you leave the room can conserve a whole lot of electricity! This is a really good habit to develop. Just remember your mom’s voice telling you this, it’ll help.

Set Your Thermostat Correctly:

If you turn your thermostat down just 1 degree, you could save $10 a month! Also, if you’re leaving for an extended period of time you can change the thermostat to a lower temperature. This will save money and energy!

Unplug When Not Using:

Unplug chargers, power strips, and unnecessary appliances when you aren’t using them! They draw energy whenever they are plugged in. Only plug them in when you need them. Sometimes just turning things off is not enough!


The next time you shop for a computer, consider opting for a laptop instead of a desktop can save a lot of energy. Also, put your computer in sleep mode when you don’t need to use it. This will put the computer in power-saving mode

Use A Power Strip

Using a power strip makes it easier to shut things down all at once. Instead of unplugging several things, you only need to flip one switch. There are even smart power strips that automatically turn off when nothing is being used. 



Dec 20

Green your Holidays!

Published in 2012

From us here at the Sustainability Office, we hope you have a safe, happy and green Holiday Season! Check out these interesting tips from the Environmental Protection Agency on how to have a “green holiday”:

1. Create your own decorations! Reuse old greeting cards and make garland using popcorn and potpourri made from kitchen spices, like cinnamon and cloves. (Pinterest is a great hub for other people to share their crafty ideas!)

2. Turn off your holiday lights during the day, better yet, but a timer so you don’t forget!

3. Shop green. Buy recycled products or products with minimal packaging. Also, bring your own reusable bags when shopping.

4. Wrap gifts in reused wrapping paper or newspaper (I personally like to use gift bags).

5. Donate old toys and decorations instead of throwing them out.

6. After dinner, fill your dishwasher to capacity before running it. This will reduce energy and water!

For more ideas, check out their website at

Happy Holidays!


Nov 28

Green Your Holiday!

Published in 2011

Make sure for the holidays this year, you shop as local as you can! Support your local economy!

Here are some places in Bemidji to check out:
Yellow Umbrella

Red Umbrella

Books N More

KD Floral & Gardens

Glazed & Amused

McKenzie Place

Ben Franklin

Chocolates Plus

Kat’s Book Nook

The Glass Shack

Morell’s Chippewa Trading Post

The Old Schoolhouse

Grandma’s Attic Antique Mall

Mar 28

Plastic, not fantastic. Bottled water and you.

Published in 2011

Since last spring, the Sustainability Office has been working on a project to reduce the amount of plastic consumed on campus. There are several reasons why we are dedicating our time and energy to this. Plastic does not serve well as a disposable item because it takes up to 500-1,000 years for it to degrade in a landfill. We found the following list of items and their time to biodegrade on a lesson plan for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

Banana 3-4 weeks
Paper bag 1 month
Cotton rag 5 months
Wool sock 1 year
Cigarette butt 2-5 years
Leather boot (or shoe) 40-50 years
Rubber sole of leather boot (or shoe) 50-80 years
Tin can 80-100 years
Aluminum can 200-500 years
Plastic 6-pack rings 450 years
Plastic jug 1 million years
Styrofoam cup Unknown? Forever?
Glass bottle Unknown? Forever?
(info from

However, if left in sunshine with oxygen will break down faster, but that can be unhealthy because of that releases harmful chemicals into the air, soil, and water. Actually, plastic releases dangerous chemicals throughout its life-cycle. According to Eureka Recycling, benzene and vinyl chloride are released during production, which cause cancer; carcinogens within the plastic can contaminate food or liquids when the container is heated or damaged, and dioxin is released from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) when burned or produced. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals that humans know of. These risks are dependent on the type of plastic. Some are better for food than others, but all plastics may be harmful if they wear out or heated. Plastic type “1″ and “2″ are regarded to be safer while those numbered “6″ and “7″ should be avoided. Check out this article for more information:

With this information, we decided to focus on bottled water because it has an obvious substitute: the tap! Although, all plastic containers should be held under the same scrutiny and avoided where possible. Some interesting things about bottled water is that it has the perception to be more pure and regulated than tap water, but this is false. Read this excerpt from the Reader’s Digest article “Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water” at

“Bottled water is regulated for safety, but it’s a tricky thing. The EPA regulates tap water, while the FDA oversees bottled. Yet FDA oversight doesn’t apply to water packaged and sold within the same state, leaving some 60 to 70 percent of bottled water, including the contents of watercooler jugs, free of FDA regulation, according to the NRDC’s report. In this case, testing depends on the states, but the NRDC found that they often don’t have adequate resources to oversee bottled water, in some cases lacking even one full-time person for an entire state.”

Plastic is also more difficult to recycle than other materials, like glass and aluminum. Because there are so so many types of plastic, sorting it at recycling stations can be time and labor intensive. In Bemidji, the only plastics that can be recycled are those marked with a “1″ or a “2″ with necks. (So any juice bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, etc.) All else is incinerated. Because of these issues, we are encouraging people to avoid buying bottled water especially and plastic in general. To promote this goal, the Sustainability Office has teamed with Students for the Environment and the Psychology of Sustainability Class to raise awareness and educate students and faculty about the drawbacks of plastic. We are promoting: less purchasing of plastic products and plastic packaging, proper recycling of plastics that do need to get purchased (rinsing and recycling containers, and throwing away lids), and use of reusable beverage and food containers made out of glass or metal. The Psychology of Sustainability class will be doing a presentation on their findings on Student Achievement day. The title of their presentation is: “Avoiding the Bottle: How to Reduce Plastic Consumption on Campus.” Let us know if you have other questions or comments!

Crystal Rayamajhi

Mar 15

How to not buy anything ever again

Published in 2011

Hey everyone!

I found this article from the Grist Magazine. Grist is a great resource for sustainable related news. They also offer great advice on how to live more sustainably. This article was one that caught my eye :-)


Hannah Hutchins

Nov 30

Sustainable Holidays!

Published in 2010

Hello! Boozhoo!

Hope everyone had a great fall semester. The Sustainability Office sure did!

Right now, we’re working on promoting a sustainable holiday. The holiday is such an important time of the year. It’s a time to make memories with your family and good friends, to celebrate either your religious ceremonies  or traditions. The Sustainability Office would love to have everyone make their holidays sustainable by making simple changes such as:

  • Swap items with friends for presents
  • When buying gifts, make sure the gifts have minimal packaging
  • When shopping, use reusable bags to avoid plastic
  • If buying something that requires batteries, make sure to use rechargeable batteries
  • Give gifts that are handmade and local
  • Wrap your gifts with used newspaper or magazines
  • Plan out your holiday meal and only buy what you need, so you can reduce your food waste
  • Consider gift certificates so people can choose what they want
  • Put your money to helping others with volunteering, instead of buying something

Hope everyone has a good holiday break! Live sustainably and take care of our Mother Earth.

Apr 29

Tips to Go Green! (and thank you)

Published in 2010

Thanks for all your help making this week’s Earth Week events a success! Thank you for setting up the furniture, helping with the technology, quickly copying the posters, reserving the rooms, giving away trees, sharing environmental resources, spreading the word, hanging up the posters, attending in person, verbalizing your support, washing the dishware, and cooking the wonderful, local food! What a great campus to be a part of! “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Aristotle

Tip shared from a colleague:
“The Beltrami Humane society takes shredded paper to use for the puppies they get in, and are always looking for more paper.”

Enjoy the weekend!

Apr 23

Hello world!

Published in 2010

Welcome to Blogs at Bemidji State University. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Apr 23

A new Chapter in Sustainability

Published in 2010

Just trying this for the sake of putting something down that will hopefully register so that I will know whether or not this works on the Sustainability sight.  That was also a very long sentence.



"You are the change you want to see in the world."
~ Ghandi