Sustainability Committee at Grays Harbor College Rotating Header Image

2011 – 2012

Sustainability Tip of the Week March 26th

Hello Campus Community,

Here is your March 26th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on the upcoming “Earth Hour” is brought to you by Adrienne! Thank you Adrienne!!


Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest environmental event in history – Earth Hour. Earth Hour is coming up on Saturday, March 31st at 8:30pm local time. All you have to do is turn off all lights, electronics, anything that gets plugged into an outlet for 1 hour. If you’d like to go above and beyond, try turning off all electronics overnight on Saturday.


More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.

Find out more about Earth Hour, how we’ve grown, and why you should get involved:

Sustainability Tip of the Week March 19th

Hello Campus Community, Here is your March 19th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on “water usage” is brought to you by Claire Bruncke. Thank you Claire! 

Many people are surprised at home much water they use each week. Sometimes people don’t even know where their water usage is coming from.  My advice to you is keep a chart! Record every time, and how much water you use for a week. (how many gallons per toilet flush, per shower, for drinking, watering plants, laundry, dishes, washing hands, etc) Then try to cut back in a certain area the next week!  Only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh, and there are a whole lot of people relying on that. Take into consideration where you use your water! The gallon usage for most shower heads can be found on google, and your toilet will say how many gallons the tank is using normally.  If you’re looking to make a big change- invest in low flow faucets and toilets! They make a big difference! Don’t forget to count your morning latte in your usage! Good luck and happy water saving!

Sustainability Tip of the Week March 12th

Hello Campus Community,

Here is your March 12th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on “10 Ways to Go Green and Save Greent” is brought to you by Sustainability Committee member and student Gary Hay. Thank you Gary!

10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green
1.     Save energy to save money.
·         Set your thermostat<> a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
·         Install compact fluorescent light bulbs<> (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
·         Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip<> that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
·         Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
·         Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.
2.     Save water to save money.
·         Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
·         Install a low-flow showerhead<>. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
·         Make sure you have a faucet aerator<> on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
·         Plant drought-tolerant native plants<> in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.
3.     Less gas = more money (and better health!).
·         Walk or bike<> to work. This saves on gas<> and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
·         Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
·         Lobby your local government<> to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
4.     Eat smart.
·         If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store-and it’s even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
·         Buy locally raised<>, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy<>.
·         Watch videos about why local food<> and sustainable seafood<> are so great.
·         Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain<> [pdf]. This is especially true for seafood<>.
5.     Skip the bottled water.
·         Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water<>. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste<>.
·         Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
·         Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends<>.
6.     Think before you buy.
       ·         Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you’ve just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist<> or FreeSharing<> to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
·         Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
·         When making purchases, make sure you know what’s “Good Stuff<>” and what isn’t.
·         Watch a video about what happens when you buy things<>. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
7.     Borrow instead of buying.
·         Borrow from libraries<> instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
·         Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.
8.     Buy smart.
·         Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
·         Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
·         Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products<>. You might pay more now, but you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
9.     Keep electronics out of the trash.
·         Keep your cell phones, computers<>, and other electronics as long as possible.
·         Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury<> and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
·         Recycle your cell phone<>. Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling<> and hazardous waste collection event.
10.   Make your own cleaning supplies.
The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products<> whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.

GHC Sustainability Tip of the Week March 5th

Hello Campus Community,
Here is your March 5th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on the Three R’s is brought to you by Claire Bruncke. Thank you Claire!!
Three R’s:
The three R’s are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
They are listed in that order for good reason. Being green starts with Reducing your consumption! Then move onto reusing what you have, and as a final step you should recycle.
So how do we reduce?
Here are some simple ways to cut back on your consumption!
1. Buy less packaging – buy a 2 liter bottle of pop and pour it into a glass instead of buying small bottles or cans – individually wrapped anything isn’t eco friendly!
2. Buy products that package in an environmentally friendly way – look for the port-comsumer materials label
3. Buy only what you need – save money and the earth by skipping that extra pair of shoes you’ll probably only wear once
4. Don’t use a plastic produce bag unless you NEED one – two apples don’t need their own bag!
5. Try to buy used goods before new – if you really need to buy something.
If you need inspiration on how to Reduce – take a look at No Impact Man – his blog is helpful and his documentary will convince you to make one simple change in your life to be more sustainable.
We can’t all make No Impact to the extreme that he did – but we can all reduce and make a difference!

GHC Sustainability Tip of the Week February 27th

Hello Campus Community,
Here is your February 27th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on one way to reuse/recycle plastic bags is brought to you by Jen Gillies. Thank you Jen!

February 20th Sustainability Tip of the Week!

Hello Campus Community,


Here is your February 20th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on “reducing printing” is brought to you by sustainability committee member Erik Sandgren. Thank you Erik!


Read this- don’t print this – or anything else today!!!!! Ease up on paper.


Meeting Minutes 1-26-2012

GHC Sustainability Committee Meeting

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Choker Dining Room, 3pm

Attendance: Erik Sandgren, Adrienne Roush, Gary Hay, Janel Spaulding.



1) Introductions-Everyone present provided introductions.



2) Recycling Bin Update-The NR Club is going around to inventory all of the recycling bins and to find out which classrooms need recycling bins. They will take the lead in sorting out aluminum from the paper/cardboard waste and will use the recycling as a fundraiser. The issue in the past is that the custodians don’t want to sort out the paper from aluminum but now that issue is resolved with the help of the NR Club.



3) Sustainability Blog Update-The Sustainability Blog is now being updated thanks to David Mills, one of the student reps on our committee. He worked with Ralph Hogaboom to update the links that weren’t working like the sustainability tips. Thanks to David for taking the lead on this!



4) Earth Day Planning-Earth Day is officially on Sunday, April 22nd. The group agreed to hold Earth Day on the Tuesday before on April 17th. Gary volunteered to reserve the HUB, fireside room and Choker Dining Room for the day’s activities. Todd Bates’ forestry students would be available on a Tuesday or Thursday to help lead the trail activities. Janel would like to see similar activities to what we had last year with the different exhibitors/organizations, the clothing drive, and the trail activities. Here is what has been done in the past:


  • Sustainable Food Booth- Chickens
  • E-book booth, demonstrate different reader programs
  • City of Hoquiam: a community garden booth and/or electric car
  • Master gardeners: a composting booth
  • Ocean Gold
  • Grays Harbor PUD
  • Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee
  • Vision 2020: Mike Myers (Recycling)
  • Hospital: Mandy Schumate
  • CCAP for their wind turbines
  • Panel Tech
  • Wild Olympics Campaign
  • Olympic Agenda: Sam Gibboney Office: 360-379-4831 Cell: 360-643-3028
  • Community Hospital: Mandy Shumate
  • Rayonier
  • booth about sustainability resources
  • Send out an email for baby food jars
  • Freecycle/Ewaste Booth
  • Textbook Rentals
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Recycling bins on people: students could walk around “wearing” recycling bins and explain to people what can be recycled and what can’t


Here is a list of things we need people to start helping with:

-Reserve the HUB, Choker Dining Room, and Fireside Room for Earth Day Activities and tables/chairs, etc-Gary volunteered to help with this.

-Work with Student Government to try to show film on food waste-Gary volunteered to help with this.

-Coordinate with exhibitors/organizations for booth/activity-Janel will take the lead on this.

-Coordinate with Todd Bates for trail activities and help get the word out to students

-Coordinate the clothing drive: suggested that we have people “model” the clothes.

-Coordinate advertising i.e. flyers, brochures, radio, tvs in HUB, readerboard, etc: suggested by Erik that all flyers etc are done in black and white to save on costs and environment.



5) Trail Project Idea-Tom Kuester

Tom Kuester has had an idea to build a trail from campus to the South Shore Mall. Currently students have to walk along the Highway, which is not really safe because there is no sidewalk. Tom has gone out with Todd to do a little surveying work to see where the trail might go. Tom couldn’t be here today to elaborate on this idea, but wanted to get the idea out to the group to see if there is something we could help with. At this point this is in the very early planning stages. Tom is proposing a trail to be built from the lower parking lot that goes through the fields and trees to Huntley rd. As the weather gets nicer we can ask Tom to come to a meeting and we could go on a “tour” of his proposed trail.


6) Next Meeting-February 16th

February 6th Tip of the Week

Hello Campus Community,


Here is your February 6th Sustainability Tip of the Week. This week’s tip on how college students can be sustainable in the classroom is brought to you by sustainability committee member Lynn Siedenstrang. Thank you Lynn!


Sustainability Tips for College Students


In the classroom


  • ·         Use refillable binders instead of notebooks or use a laptop.
  • ·         Use recycled paper.
  • ·         Take notes on both sides of paper.
  • ·         If it’s OK with your professor, hand in assignments by printing on both sides of the page. 
  • ·         Unless you’re handicapped, don’t use automatic handicap doors


Thanks to Goucher College, students can be sustainable by applying these helpful tips. (December 11, 2009)

January 23rd & 30th Tip of the Week

Hello Campus Community,


We have two sustainability tips for you since we missed last week!  The January 23rd tip of the week on “winter energy savings ideas” is brought to you by Cal Erwin-Svoboda.The January 30th tip of the week on “40 easy ways to go greener at home-besides recycling” is brought to you by Gary Hay. Thank you both Cal and Gary for the tips!


January 23rd Sustainability Tip of the Week: By Cal Erwin-Svoboda

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter months mean a spike in utility bills. There are tons of cost effective ways to prep your house/apartment for the winter months. Implementing a few of these tips might help lower your monthly utility bills. Winter Energy Saving Tips (via PNM Resources, New Mexico)


My Secret Tip To Winter Energy Savings

You can easily ‘section off’ portions of your house/apartment that you don’t want to heat by mounting a curtain rod over a doorway and using a heavy panel of curtain to create a barrier to keep the heat only where you need it. This can also be achieved by shutting doors to bedrooms, bathrooms, etc that you do not need to heat.

January 30th Sustainability Tip of the Week: By Gary Hay

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home – Besides Recycling

1.  Plant an herb garden.  It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.

2.  Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).

3.  Create a homemade compost bin for $15.

4.  Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).

5.  Stop using disposable bags – order some reusable bags, or make your own.  My favorites are Envirosax and Flip & Tumble.

6.  Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.  Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.

7.  Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.

8.  Turn off lights when you leave the room.

9.  Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.

10.  Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.

11.  Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

12.  Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.

13.  Turn off your computer completely at night.

14.  Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.

15.  Pay as many bills as possible online.

16.  Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.  While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.

17.  Reuse scrap paper.  Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.

18.  Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.

19.  Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs.  My favorites are The Daily Green,TreeHugger, and Keeper of the Home.  Of course, you gotta subscribe to Simple Organic.

20.  Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.

21.  Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.

22.  Fix leaky faucets.

23.  Make your own household cleaners.  I’ve got quite a few recipes in my e-book.

24.  Line dry your laundry.

25.  Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.

26.  Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.

28.  Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

29.  Unplug unused chargers and appliances.

30.  Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby.  Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.

31.  Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.

32.  Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.

33.  Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.

34.  Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.

35.  Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.

36.  Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.

37.  Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed. Watch Food, Inc. while you’re at it.

38.  Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.

39.  Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.

40.  Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill.  You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.

January 16th Tip of the Week

Hello Campus Community,

Here is your January 16th Sustainability Tip of the Week, a few days late!
This week’s tip about using paper bags vs plastic bags (if cloth/reusable bags aren’t your preference) is brought to you by Todd Bates. Thank you Todd!!

By Jonathan Croswell (
The well-worn debate between paper and plastic bags has persisted since plastic bags were introduced in 1977, according to “The New York Times.” Plastic bags were introduced years ago as an alternative to bulky paper bags that can be heavy, difficult to carry and more costly to businesses. But plastic bags don’t biodegrade and are made with harmful chemicals. And while reusable cloth shopping bags are growing in popularity, they are more costly to consumers and aren’t always the easiest solution. Because of this, many consumers find papers bags a good alternative if they don’t have reusable bags.
Paper bags are made of natural products, which allows them to be broken down by the elements–albeit over a long time. Plastic bags aren’t as lucky–most aren’t biodegradable and can fill up landfills, costing cities as much as 17 cents per disposal of each bag, according to Money Central. Recycling plastic bags is an option, but the costs can be impractical. As of 2010, it can cost $4,000 to recycle one ton of plastic bags, which is resold to stores for $32, according to Squawk Fox. On the other hand, paper bags are easily tossed into the paper recycling bin and reused.
Renewable Resource
Paper bags are made from felled trees, which some proponents of plastic bags suggest creates more of an imprint on the environment than plastic bags. But trees are also a renewable resource that can be replaced over time. Many paper and lumber mills practice tree replacement so that their supply of trees doesn’t diminish over time.
Less Litter
One paper bag can do the same work it can take several plastic bags to accomplish. The downside to this is that plastic bags are often overused–some businesses use a plastic bag to hold one single item. The practice of overusing plastic bags can add to the country’s littering problem. Plastic bags are frequently found blowing in the wind alongside roads and elsewhere in the outdoors. Paper bags are much larger and less abundant, and they aren’t as easily lost to the wind