June 22, 2024

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

It takes a tremendous amount of work to maintain a sustainable campus.  Whether it’s the efforts of the President’s Council on Sustainability (PCS), the annual Recyclemania event, the upcoming Shred Event, the Do One Thing Campaign, or any of the other numerous programs and projects that UMW participates in to create a sustainability campus community.  One thing is definitely for sure — sustainability does not happen on its own.  One area that we can ALL do something about–and that we all have a responsibility to do something about–is littering.

Laziness, apathy, and ignorance are probably the major reasons people litter.  Even in the year 2013, you will see people throw used wrappers on the ground in a fast food parking lot or leave their paper coffee cups in a supermarket shopping cart.  How often are you startled on I-95 as you watch someone throw a can or bottle of something from their car window (one of the often overlooked facts of littering is that it causes a tremendous amount of car accidents each year: http://www.greenecoservices.com/deadly-litter-and-car-accidents/).  Even for a school as Eco-friendly as UMW, litter is still a problem — on the grounds, in office hallways, building bathrooms, etc. — and as representatives of the university, we all have a responsibility to keep UMW clean and litter-free.  Some simple steps that you can take:

  • Make a commitment to not litter and encourage others to do the same
  • Pick up litter when you see it
  • If you smoke, carry a pocket ashtray instead of throwing cigarette butts on the ground

Litter not only damages the appearance of our campuses, but it also harms plants and animals, not to mention the Earth.  It seems that within the last ten years or so, focus with regards to sustainability has shifted heavily to recycling, composting, and using biodegradable products–all very important areas that should be highlighted in order to protect the environment.  However, littering continues to take place and it is often not the center of many environmental campaigns.  The good news is–it can be maintained if you’re committed to doing so.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.  The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last Week’s Tip: Donating Blood


About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


  1. Wonderful message!

    Cigarette butts are a significant problem on the Fredericksburg Campus. People, who would never throw a candy wrapper on the ground, do not even think twice about a cigarette butt! Bah Humbug!