It was 26 years ago this month that the first Earth Day took root around the country. Whether or not you observed Earth Day 1996 on 22 April, consider the following ideas. All of them are ways in which you can make NCAR, UCAR, and our community at large greener and more sustainable.
1. Turn off your computer monitor each night.
There are good reasons to turn off your monitor whenever you're away from your computer for more than an hour or two. Screen savers do not substantially prolong the life of the cathode ray tube (CRT) inside the monitor. Also, a typical monitor uses between 60 and 200 watts of energy, along with any building cooling necessary to compensate for the monitor's heat. If a workplace monitor is left on nights and weekends, more than half of its energy cost and CRT lifespan is wasted. To get free turnoff reminder labels for your or your group's computers, check with the recycle coordinator for your group. A list of coordinators, and further background on monitor use, are available on the World Wide Web at the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) home page, http://home.ucar.edu/ucargen/groups/ESP/esphome.html.
2. Experience the thrill of recycling almost everything.
Eco-Cycle has just expanded its guidelines for recycling "OfficePak2" materials. Now, virtually any paper products not contaminated by food can be recycled at UCAR/NCAR/UOP. This includes cereal boxes, paperback or hardback books, and paper bags. For the lowdown, contact your group's recycling coordinator or check out the new guidelines on the ESP Web page.
3. Join the ESP.
UCAR's own squadron of eco-warriors is always on the lookout for new field troops. You can join committees that focus on wildlife, reuse and recycling, or several other specialties. The ESP keeps in close touch with city and county environmental programs to help keep our sites in harmony with the open space they border. To join ESP, contact Gaylynn Potemkin (chair), firstname.lastname@example.org, ext. 1618.
4. Join the Transportation Alternatives Group.
TAG, now part of ESP, is in the process of regrouping and especially welcomes new members. All that's required is a willingness to pitch in and an interest in biking, shuttling, walking, busing, carpooling, or any other eco-friendly forms of transportation. Plans for Boulder Bike Week in July are now under way. Send e-mail to email@example.com to find out more about joining TAG.
5. Pinch the waste stream at its front end.
It's good to recycle; it's even better to "precycle," or prevent waste from occurring in the first place. You can do this by copying double-sided, posting documents electronically, or drawing from your deskside recycling bin for scratch paper. Another trick is to use paper with as much recycled content (preferably postconsumer) as possible. The Copy Center (ext. 1164) has a variety of such papers on hand.
6. Give kenaf a try.
Want to save a tree or two? Try kenaf, the paper used for this issue of Staff Notes. Kenaf is a hardy plant of the hibiscus family grown in the southern United States as an alternative paper source. The plants, which soar to heights of four meters in four to five months, can provide six to ten tons of paper per acre, several times more per acre than southern pine trees, which take many years to reach harvestable size. The Copy Center can order kenaf-based papers for your particular needs. To find retail outlets or for more information on kenaf, contact distributor Reid Barcus, 938-0612. (Note: you can recycle this issue of Staff Notes at your deskside bins, since it's virgin kenaf paper.)
7. Compost the most.
When eating lunch or a snack in your office, don't forget that most of the byproducts (excepting meat and dairy) can be thrown into the compost collector for your work group. If your area lacks a compost receptacle, ask your recycle coordinator to obtain one, or contact ESP directly (see contacts above).
8. Try a new route for your bike commuting.
TAG is happy to announce the extension of its route-finding service--traditionally offered around the time of Boulder Bike Week--into a year-round activity. Any time you'd like to learn about bike-path or bike-route options from your home to your workplace, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your starting and ending points and any other pertinent information. TAG will take it from there.