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June 2021

Calling all Green Ambassadors!

This is your time to shine

Many of you have probably wondered - What do I DO as a Notre Dame Green Ambassador?  What is my responsibility? As we are all asked to return to campus (in some way), we need your help to influence new processes and habits with a more sustainable focus.

One of our most important goals is to reduce waste.  
Less waste means:
  • Reduced costs for your office and the University.
  • Needing less of the earth's resources (less environmental impacts)
  • Doing our part to mitigate the Climate Crisis - Less greenhouse gases released from landfills and using less virgin materials.
  • Less risk of trash ending up in the wrong place - like the St. Joseph River and the Pacific Ocean.  

Plan for your Sustainable Office Return

This might be a good time to implement new systems for a circular economy and reduce waste in our offices. 



Consider these suggestions before you feel the need to throw it away or toss it in recycling:
  1. Buy only what you need.

    Read more...
  2. Invest in what you buy.

    Read more...
  3. Take care of the things you buy.

    Read more...
  4. Reuse extra office supplies.

    Set up an Office Reuse Station.  This can simply be a cabinet or shelf where someone in your office can place those extra staplers and pens, etc.  Do you really need that stash of 20 pens in your desk?   Share them with your co-workers. Include a box for single-sided paper whose blank side can still be used for scrap paper, 
    Establish some standards (just like Goodwill asks of us).  If you wouldn't use it because it is broken, then maybe it really is trash. 
    When someone is in need of a “new” office supply, establish protocol to check the Reuse Station before re-ordering any new items.
  5. And then...Recycle

    (More on recycling - soon)

K-Cup Pods are Now EASY to Recycle

The number of K-Cup pods entering the landfill is staggering - all for a simple cup of coffee.  That is why Notre Dame has partnered with Office Depot and Keurig to provide a program for offices to recycle them at no cost. If your office uses K-cup pods to make coffee - please sign up for the K-Cycle program:

How to get started

  • Please plan on recycling only Keurig brand K-Cups.
  • Fill out the K-Cycle Sign-up Form and email it to Rob Hirshman.  This will create an account for you.
  • They will contact you.  Follow their directions for ordering a free box to collect the K-Cups. The box will arrive with a pre-affixed UPS return shipping label - all at no cost.
  • Then, order another - and so on.
It is so simple.  Thank you to Office Depot and Keurig partnerships for making this program possible.

Special Recycling for Other Hard-to-Recycle items

And... If your office is in Grace Hall, you may have noticed the TerraCycle boxes on the first floor.  These are meant to collect hard-to-recycle items that our single stream recycling can't accept - like pens, markers, and most other office supplies that aren't paper.  All staff are welcome to add to these boxes - even if you don't work in Grace Hall.

Don't Be a Lone Champion

Set up a Green Team

There is no reason to do this work alone.  Talk with your office supervisor and get buy-in for you to set up a Green Team so that you can work on some of these ideas together.  Being able to implement them will be much easier with a team that can share in the efforts.

Running a Successful Green Team

  • Get Leadership buy-in.
  • Start small, celebrate the success.
  • Hold meetings on a regular basis (One hour once a month - or what works for you).  
  • Set an agenda.  Use the time well.
  • Set up mutual accountability - it's easy to set goals, but encourage each other to achieve them.
  • Work on issues across departments, divisions, and offices.  Collaborate with other Green Teams.
  • Involve Building Services when appropriate. You may want to set an office policy specific to cardboard.  It would be a good idea to include Building Services so they know not to accidentally place something where you didn't want it.
  • Focus on a different sustainability topic each month.
  • Make it Fun.  The Climate Crisis is serious stuff - but we humans work best when we enjoy what we're doing - take a field trip around the lakes, try some new foods, have a competition.
  • Show appreciation - provide rewards. But avoid the knick-knacks that will just end up in the trash. Give experiences or durable items that can be useful in the office for a long time.
  • Communicate - Newsletter, Social media - Send success stories to the Office of Sustainability!

Your Fellow Green Ambassador

Joy McCausland, an office assistant in the Notre Dame football operations office - and fellow Green Ambassador - was recently featured in NDWorks WeeklyCheck it out

Do you have a story to tell? I bet you do.  Let us know what you're doing in your office to be more sustainable - trash, energy, water, nature, wellness, etc.  Our office would love to do a shout out.  You needn't feel like you're fishing for compliments - this is a way to share ideas with others around campus - we learn from each other!

Nominations now being accepted - Procurement Partner Sustainability Award

To fulfill our commitment to fostering a culture of environmental responsibility, it is important that our faculty and staff communicate and are open to suppliers' ideas to help drive innovation and identify new and sustainable offerings.

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021 Procurement Partner Sustainability Award, which will be presented in the fall.  

Selection criteria:
The Procurement Partner Sustainability Award is presented to a supplier that supports the University in its goal of increasing the purchase of sustainable items through identification of green product offerings in catalogs through new and/or innovative goods or services it provides.

  • Does the product/program reflect a significant change in environmental impact?
  • Does the product/program support the University of Notre Dame Licensing Code of Conduct?
  • Is there tangible data to support the impacts of the product/program?
  • What is the reach of the product/program (e.g. departmental, campus-wide, broader community, etc.)?
  • Does the success of the product/program inspire behavioral change or influence peers to replicate?
Please submit a nomination now.  We rely you, the people that work directly with the vendors, to help make this award a success.  Thank you.
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