University of South CarolinaUniversity of South Carolina
Operations and Maintenance

South Carolina's Flagship University
743 Greene St.
Columbia, SC 29208
Business hours: 8:00 - 4:30
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Contact us:
phone 777-WORK (9675)
fax 777-7334

Waste reduction and reuse tips

At home:

  • Use resealable, reusable containers for lunch and leftovers.
  • Install flow-reducing shower heads, faucet aerators and other fixtures which reduce water consumption. The include automatic shut-off hose nozzles, water conservation devices for toilet tanks and dye tables which can be used to detect leaky toilets.
  • Use old toothbrushes and other brushes to clean bathroom tile, shoes, etc..
  • Make an all-purpose cleaner: 1 gallon hot water, 1/4 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Safe on most surfaces, and rinses off with water.
  • Use hot vinegar instead of paint thinner on brushes.
  • Make up an inexpensive silver polish: 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 piece of aluminum foil. Soak silver for 10-15 minutes, wipe with a soft cloth.
  • Instead of paper or plastic, use ceramic mugs, cloth napkins and towels, china plates and silverware.
  • Prepare a simple furniture polish with either lemon oil and beeswax, beeswax and olive oil, or mix 2 teaspoons of lemon oil with one pint of mineral oil in a spray bottle.
  • If you're in the market for a new washing machine, look for a front loader. They are more energy efficent than top loaders, and use only 22 to 25 gallons per load while top loaders use 40 to 45 gallons per load.
  • Use baking soda to clean sinks, toilet bowls, and showers without harshe chemicals. Also, only a box will be left instead of plastic bottles.
  • Reuse glass jars to store nails, screws, craft supplies and other small items in the garage, workshop or sewing room.
  • clean windows and mirrors with a simple solution of 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and two cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Apply with wadded up newspaper.
  • when spring cleaning or moving, have a yard sale or donate items to charities instead of throwing them away

On Campus:

  • Before buying new, sort through your materials. Many supplies can be reused or recycled.
  • If you are disposing goods or material, know what can be reused or recycled.
  • Use supplies wrapped with minimal packaging.
  • Use compact or concentrated products; or buy products that come in bulk sizes.
  • Take a litter-free lunch to work by using resusable containers
  • "Lug a Mug!" - use a travel mug at work or at your coffee shop.
  • Choose products made from recycled products.
  • Provide filtered drinking water and reusable cups for employees
  • Avoid paper packets and save waste by offering employees sugar and cream in large dispensers.

At the Office:

  • Make two-sided copies to reduce paper waste by 50%.
  • When circulating memos or documents, use routing slips. Better still, e-mail.
  • Share newspapers and magazines.
  • Use the blank side of used paper for scratch paper, then recycle it.
  • Reuse cardboard and paperboard boxes.
  • Encourage your office manager to buy or lease fax machines that use plain paper.
  • Use small stick-on fax notes on the first sheet of each fax and omit cover sheets.
  • Use durable products, i.e., china mugs instead of disposable cups, refillables instead of throwaways.
  • Purchase items that can be used for more than one application.
  • Refold and reuse file folders.
  • Use reusable envelopes for interoffice mail; reuse envelopes with metal clasps.
  • At meetings or events, use durable/washable tableware instead of disposables.
  • Purchase stationery, scratch pads, business cards, paper towels, toilet paper and facial tissue made from recycled paper
  • Bring lunch in reusable containers rather than paper or plastic bags.
  • Recycle and use recycled toner cartridges.
  • Use recycled yard waste mulch and crumb rubber from recycled tires in workplace landscaping and parking lots.

Recycling at Carolina: follow us on FACEBOOK!

Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-5500 •
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