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Sustainability Connections
for Notre Dame's Staff & Graduate Students
JULY, 2020

I hope you're all doing well.  As many of us continue to work remotely from home, this newsletter (now and in the near future) will be geared toward a big picture goal of normalizing sustainability actions in our lives. 

My plan is to have a theme for each newsletter - focused on a particular sustainability issue - that affects campus life, home life and our experience as part of the world.  This month's theme is plastic.  If you have ideas - shoot me an email and/or share on the Google+ Community.

And I encourage you to forward this email to others in your office (or create your own internal "green tips" newsletter.  I'll continue to rely on you Green Ambassadors as a liaison between my office and your's.  Thank you!

Take care,
Greg Koehler, Associate Program Manager, Office of Sustainability
Forward Forward

Talk Sustainability

July's Green Ambassador ZOOM Gathering

And starting this month - I'll be hosting a Green Ambassadors ZOOM Gathering - every second Tuesday.

Coming up: July 14, noon
Second Tuesday ZOOM gathering of Green Ambassadors

Please join me for a chat about reducing plastic and plastic waste on campus and in our community.  We'll talk about the Plastic Free July Challenge - feel free to look ahead at (and start) the Plastic Free July Challenge.

Plastic has some big problems - made from petroleum, lasts for a looooong time in landfills (or in our waterways) - but it's so darn convenient and lightweight.  Let's talk about the pros and cons, ways to reduce and ways to recycle.  I've included a few resources in this newsletter. 

**For fun - I invite you to bring to the meeting your favorite lunch packaging "alternative" to single-use plastic.**

Add it to your Calendar for July 14.  Bring some ideas and questions to share.
Add to my Google Calendar

Call to Action & Share

Go Plastic Free in July

From the Google+ Green Ambassadors Community

Plastics have a lot of good uses.  But there are lots of opportunities to use alternatives in order to reduce our waste, our petroleum dependency, and contribution to the microplastics problem.  Here are some additional ideas for reducing the amount of plastic we use in our homes and at work.  .  

Here are a couple: 
  • Avoid plastic bags - be sure to check with local stores and their new (COVID-related) policies.  If they don't let you use your own cloth bags - ask them to just place items in a cart and then place them in your cloth bags at your car.  A little inconvenient - but a good solution as we use caution.  Cloth bags can be washed - which makes them safer - but stores may still have a blanket policy.
  • Bring your own reusable silverware.  With COVID concerns, you're going to see a lot more single-use plastic tableware.  Decline that, and use your own - wrap it up in a napkin (which can be composted) and simply wash them when you get home.  

Sustainability in the World

Plastics Pollution is a Global Issue

Sustainability in Michiana

What Plastics Can we Recycle at Home?

In St. Joseph County (Indiana), residents can recycle these plastics in curbside recycling:
  • 1 to 5 gallon buckets used for food, pet and cleaning products - empty and rinse clean
  • All plastic bottles and containers coded #1-5 and #7 (look in the triangle code on the back or the bottom of the plastic bottle or container to make sure its recyclable)
  • No plastic motor oil bottles, grocery store bags or Styrofoam (#6)
  • Rinse and remove all food contents from the containers
  • Place lids in bin separately
In Elkhart County, residents can recycle :
  • Plastics #1 through #7 
  • Examples include rinsed soft drink and water bottles, yogurt containers, milk jugs, detergent bottles or frozen food containers. Please no expanded polystyrene, such a packing peanuts or popcorn.

Ideas from the Green Ambassadors

Low/No Space Gardening

From the Google+ Green Ambassadors Community

Celeste Lourigan (Graduate Studies Coordinator, Political Science) shared her solution to the challenge of gardening while renting.  Same could be applied to homes with little or no space to dig a garden.  Thanks Celeste!  Looks like a tasty bounty about to happen.

Sustainability news on campus

Now Accepting Nominations

Our next Supplier Expo is scheduled for Fall, 2020, and the University of Notre Dame would like to award the second Procurement Partner Sustainability Award.  The selection committee is encouraging nominations for vendors that have helped advance sustainability initiatives on campus and those that have gone the extra mile to support ND during the COVID-19 crisis. Criteria for the award include: environmental impact, reach of influence, innovation, and commitment to efficiency. 

The Office of Sustainability and Procurement Services encourages employees to continue working with suppliers on sustainability initiatives. Your efforts will be honored during the FY 2020 Supplier Expo.  

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.  

Ready to Nominate? Click here!

For more information, please visit our website. Questions can be sent to
Important: Deadline for nominations – September 1, 2020
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