Reduce Plastic Waste
Plastic waste is extremely harmful to the environment and only a fraction of plastic used in our products is recycled. This leads to the build of plastic waste in our landfills, rivers, oceans, and communities leading to a plethora of environmental problems.
Use a reusable water bottle - One way to reduce your plastic waste is to purchase and use reusable water bottles. UNO has 36 water filling stations across campus. About seven out of every 10 plastic beverage bottles purchased end up either incinerated, releasing harmful chemicals into our atmosphere, or in landfills or littered in our communities.
Bring your own shopping bags - Shoppers in the United State use 14 billion plastic bags a year, all of which could be replaced with reusable shopping bags.
Decline straws - Everyday those of us in the United States use 500 million straws. That’s enough straws to fill 125 school buses or circle the Earth 2.3 times! Straw alternatives, such as bamboo and metal straws, can be found both online and locally at Exist Green in Dundee. You can even find carrying cases made of sustainable materials, which is the epitome of “cool”.
Composting turns your food scraps, yard waste, and compostable materials into nourishment for our soils. By introducing composting to your household waste routine, you can divert up to 30% of the trash going to the landfill. Students are eligible for unlimited compost drop offs with Hillside Solutions for only $4.50 a month! Learn more.
The nearest drop off location is at Exist Green, only a 10 minute bike ride from campus. You can also build your own composting system at home.
Commit to Less Driving
Switching your mode of transportation for just one of your weekly trips can have significant impacts including reducing your carbon emissions, reducing the cost of gas, boosting a healthy lifestyle, and reducing traffic on our roads, which increases public safety. There are several programs at UNO and community partners that make it easy and convenient to get around Omaha. UNO also offers an emergency ride home for anyone who uses alternative modes of transportation to get to campus. Learn more.
Take the bus - Through our MavRide program, your student or staff/faculty ID is also a free bus pass! See how to use the bus system. Route planning is made easy by using Google Maps and selecting the bus icon to plan your trip. Check out Omaha bus routes.
Ride a bike - UNO has three Heartland B-cycle stations on our Dodge campus and 5 more stations located on Scott Campus and Aksarben Village. Many of these stations even include electric bikes, to speed up and ease your commute! Learn more.
Carpool - Carpooling to campus has many benefits including shared expenses, reducing your carbon footprint, and decreasing stress. UNO parking services even offers carpool parking passes at a reduced rate and designated carpool parking spaces! Learn more.
Buying used items reduces overall expense and your carbon footprint since no new materials or energy were used to produce the product. Buying used products also reduces the amount of waste going to our landfills. The fashion industry, particularly “fast fashion” produced quickly in developing countries, is the second largest polluter globally and the third largest contributor to microplastics in our oceans. By purchasing used clothing, you help reduce this impact. You can find used clothing online using resources such as ThreadUp and Poshmark. Locally, you can buy used clothing at thrift stores, Scout in Dundee, and Style Encore on Dodge.
Farming and agriculture are the biggest industries here in Nebraska, which makes buying local food easy and abundant. Omaha’s Farmer’s Market runs every weekend from May-October, and is located in Aksarben Village on Sundays. For information on where to buy locally year-round, check out the Nebraska Food Cooperative or read this article by NP Dodge.
Buy Locally Sourced Food
Reduce the Chemicals Used in Your HomeMany chemicals found in home cleaning products are toxic for both you and the environment. Eco-friendly alternatives can be found in your local grocery stores. Check out this list of possible options. City Sprouts and The Big Garden in Omaha are hosting a workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 22 to teach how to make your own household and personal care products. Learn more and register.
Before each purchase, consider the necessity of your purchase. Are you able to use something you already have at home? Is there an option to find it secondhand? Can you borrow from a friend or family member? Is there a more environmentally friendly option? Do you truly need the item? You may also consider what you will do with the item after you have used it. Can it be reused for another purpose? Can you donate it? Will someone you know need it after you are done? Can you upcycle it? Use it in an art piece? Can it be recycled? By asking yourself these questions and being a more conscious consumer, you will reduce your overall consumption, reuse more of your items, and recycle smarter.
Commit to watching a documentary or reading a book on sustainability each month. Join organizations and online groups commited to sustainability. Seek out blogs on environmental topics. Sustainability resources can be found on the UNO library website. You can also follow UNO’s Office of Sustainability on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter for more information about sustainability at UNO.
Look for labels that say all-natural, cruelty-free, not tested on animals, and/or vegan. Many products can be found online, or locally at Exist Green in Dundee.
Use Environmentally Friendly Personal Care Products
SustainUNO (or SUNO) is an action-oriented student organization focused on improving sustainability practices on campus and educating their peers about sustainability problems and solutions. Learn more.
Join SustainUNO student organization
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.