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Power down for the holidays

Posted by on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 in Dining, Energy, News, Waste & Recycling.

Read the MyVU story here.

Before you leave campus for the holidays, please take a moment to shut off lights and appliances, unplug electronics and lower thermostats.  Would you like to reduce your impact even more this holiday season? Here are a few additional tips to make your holiday a little greener this year.

Food and Entertaining

Computers are electronic devices, like a TV or microwave and should, in essence, be treated as such.

Plan a meal with a lower carbon footprint and a lower impact on the environment by serving food that is locally and sustainably grown. Visit your farmer’s market to get fresh meat, produce and breads for your holiday feast (and help keep your local farmers in business). Think about using reusable plates, napkins, and utensils for your holiday feast. If you must use plastic wares, make sure to recycle them!


The average American household generates 25 percent more trash during the holiday season. Remember to recycle cans, bottles, cardboard, and other packaging that comes along with your gifts or food this holiday season. Don’t forget to send leftovers home with guests to reduce food waste as well!


Remember to recycle your tree into mulch after the holidays – many cities (including Davidson County) have tree recycling programs! If you can, purchase a live tree with a rootball and replant it when you no longer need it for the holiday. Decorate your home using items you already have or items that can be reused and enjoyed after your event, such as whole fruit, small plants, herbs and pinecones. Consider decorating with fewer lights this year – there are many festive alternatives like popcorn strings to adorn your tree or home! If you do use lights, put them on a timer and choose LEDs which use less energy.


To reduce gas consumption, carpool and consolidate trips to the mall to purchase your gifts. When possible, buy locally produced gifts—they have a much lower carbon footprint than goods manufactured overseas (and it supports your local economy). Consider enclosing gifts in packaging that can be reused, such as baskets or fabric. Or choose recycled wrapping like newspaper or last year’s gift bags.


Carpool to holiday events, encourage guests to carpool, and offset the carbon footprint of any air travel at, or


For more holiday greening tips, visit our Sustainable Holiday Greening Guide or contact the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) at or 615.322.9022.

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