ECO Tips


Are you breaking Florida’s law by trashing rechargeable batteries?

Under Florida law, it is illegal to discard nickel-cadmium or small sealed lead acid rechargeable batteries or products containing such rechargeable batteries in the trash. The batteries must be recycled or sent to a facility permitted to dispose of those batteries. Rechargeable batteries include those used on laptops, small electronics, hearing aids, watches, calculators, smaller equipment and backup power supplies, portable electronics and toys, consumer electronics, portable power tools, phones, old style cell phones and small equipment.


Barry University provides students, faculty and staff with a place to drop-off rechargeable batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones and other small electronics for proper recycling year round. The main collection bin, labeled Dade Recycling, is located in the Thompson Hall Lobby. Additional locations will be announced.


Look for Leaks

Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so each year we hunt down the drips during Fix a Leak Week in March. Remember that fixing the leaks can save valuable water and money all year long!

In the bathroom -- where over half of all water use takes place:

  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Showers use less water than baths, as long as you keep an eye on how long you've been lathering up!
  • Learn tips on how to Shower Better here!



Get rid of the "disposable" lifestyle.

Americans throw away 113 billion disposable cups, 39 billion disposable eating utensils and 29 billion disposable plates each year. The strain on landfills is obvious, but these products also consume more energy and materials than durable ones, even when washing is considered. Plastic disposables do not biodegrade and may end up as part of the floating flotsam in the ocean that kills wildlife.

What you can do:

  • Carry your own containers and utensils for take-out meals.
  • If you are serving a large crowd:
    • Ask guests to bring their own tableware.
    • Borrow extra from a neighbor or guest.
    • Rent supplies from a rental shop.
  • Have lightweight, washable tableware set aside for picnics and potlucks.
  • Be proactive in your work place, school, church or other organization.

Eco-tip provided by:


Home Repair Recycling

Anyone familiar with home repair can tell you that there is usually some kind of debris left over. No matter what the project, anytime something new goes in, something old is discarded. That said, there are some unexpected recyclables hidden among your home repair rubble, and with a little extra effort, you can help ensure that they serve a second life rather than waste away. Check out five common items that often end up wasted:

Eco-tip provided by:


Eliminate bottled water

Kick the bottled water habit by installing a water filter on your faucet and purchasing a reusable water bottle. Aim for a water bottle that does not leach chemicals, by looking for ‘BPA Free’ labels, or by choosing stainless steel.

Eco-tip provided by GreenFaith:


Car washing tips to conserve water

Wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your lawn at the same time. As an alternative, use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Eco-tip provided by Water Use It Wisely:


Did you know that producing a hamburger takes this much water?

Eat a bit less meat, especially beef. A typical hamburger can take 630 gallons to produce. (Learn more about the water embedded in your food with National Geographic's "The Hidden Water We Use" interactive.)

Eco-tip provided by National Geographic Freshwater Conservation Tips:


Save up to 175 gallons of water a month!

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month. Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.

Eco-tip provided by Water Use It Wisely:

At-Home Guide to Water Conservation:


Let the rain water your lawn!

Watering lawns with sprinklers consumes more water than any other home use. Stop watering -- your grass will turn green again when it rains, and as we know from living in Florida, it rains almost every afternoon in the summertime. If you must, water lightly early in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Also, check your sprinklers to make sure they are only watering plants and not paved areas, fences, or buildings.

Eco-tip provided by the Center for Earth Leadership:


Which one is more water efficient…dishwashing or hand washing?

Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint – less than 2% of indoor use – but there are always ways to conserve. Using a machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads and select the appropriate settings. Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines use only about 6 gallons. Hand washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water each time.

Eco-tip provided by National Geographic Water Conservation Tips:


Use your clothes washer for only full loads

Students in apartments who have to use communal laundry rooms or commercial laundromats probably know this already, but automatic clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. New Energy Star rated washers use 35 - 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you're in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.

Eco-tip provided by eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living:


Toilets are the biggest water consumers inside your house.

Toilets are the biggest water consumers inside the house, and a medium leak can waste 150-200 gallons of water per day. Check your toilets for leaks by putting food coloring in the tank and waiting ten minutes. You have a leak if color appears in the bowl.

Eco-tip provided by the Center for Earth Leadership:


Avoid Plastic Bags!

With the average household using 900 plastic bags every year, the cumulative environmental impact is enormous. For starters, plastic bags require petroleum as a raw material, and the manufacturing process emits toxic waste into the air and water. Once discarded, plastic bags either sit in a landfill for or create a litter problem because they are so lightweight and hard to contain. Finally, they don't biodegrade in the environment but rather break into smaller and smaller pieces. In the North Pacific, oceanographers have located a 3.5-million-ton floating mass of plastic debris. Tens of thousands of turtles, whales, dolphins, seals and birds die every year due to plastic bags because they often mistake the plastic debris for food, such as jellyfish. When eaten, the plastic gets trapped in the gut, preventing food from being digested.

What you can do:

  1. Purchase the type of durable, reusable bags you prefer:
    • Woven plastic bags – large grocery stores
    • Canvas or nylon bags—
    • Net bags – your local natural food store
  2. Develop a routine. Place the empty bags where you will always have them—in the car, on a hook by the door, in a purse, briefcase, or backpack.
  3. Rinse and dry produce and bread bags for reuse.
  4. Keep reusable bags in your shopping bag for purchasing produce and dry goods in bulk.

Eco-tip provided by:


Consider composting!

  • The average American creates 4.4 lbs. of garbage each day (1,600 pounds per year).

Starting an indoor or outdoor compost bin is easy, smell-free, and turns food waste into nutrient-rich soil. Learn how easy it is at: or

Contact your township—often townships provide compost bins for free or at a discount. In a small space or urban area, consider an indoor composter such as those described at

Eco-tip provided by GreenFaith:


Use Reusable or Earth-friendly Dinnerware!

When planning parties and events, keep the environment in mind by using reusable or earth-friendly dinnerware.

Your waste will outlive you—plastic can take up to 600 years to break down in a landfill, and Styrofoam never breaks down. Start small with reusable utensils, since they can be easily collected and washed. Supplement as needed with recycled-content paper and/or biocompostable dinnerware:

Eco-tip provided by GreenFaith:


Get Rid of your Junk Mail!

  • Over 100 million trees are killed each year for junk mail.
  • Most junk mail is unwanted and ends up being recycled or goes in the trash.
  • Creating/shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas than 9 million cars. (

Catalogs are a major offender. A catalog request can result in contact information being put into a database, ensuring you receive more catalogs. Companies also may rent or sell their mailing lists. You may diligently recycle all this junk mail, but reducing it would save a lot more trees.

What you can do:

  • Call the sender and ask to be removed from its list. When ordering from a catalog, note how many catalogs you are willing to receive per year.
  • Keep a stack of postcards handy with the message: "Please take me off your mailing list." Tape the label with your address onto the postcard and send it.
  • To reduce unwanted credit card solicitations, contact major credit bureaus at 1-888-567-8688 or go to
  • Cancel all publications you don't have time to read.
  • Guard your name and address. Information on warranties or contest entry forms may go directly to a marketing firm. When filling out applications, subscriptions, or memberships, state that you do not want your name released to other businesses. Stay away from store "buyer's club" cards.
  • Consider subscribing (for a small fee) to an organization that will remove you from junk mailing lists; a couple of choices are:

Eco-tip provided by Center for Earth Leadership:


If you’re not doing so already, recycle!

Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours. Save energy and resources by recycling your glass, aluminum, plastic and paper. Check your city's recycling guide to find out what materials are recyclable in your area and whether or not your recyclables should be separated or commingled. If your city doesn't have a recycling guide, check directly with your waste management company.

Eco-tip provided by GreenFaith:


Bring your own reusable bottle or mug everywhere you go.

Make an Earth Day commitment to carry a reusable mug. If 50 customers a day in every U.S. Starbucks did this, the equivalent of almost 300,000 trees a year would be saved. If you forget your mug, ask for a ceramic mug for in-store orders and forgo the plastic lid for to-go use.

Eco-tip provided by: Center for Earth Leadership


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