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What Can I Do?

Wednesday, May. 5, 2010

What’s the ultimate test of how sustainably you live? If you can be earth-friendly while you sleep! Here are some ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and respect all while getting a good night’s rest:

Reduce your energy consumption at night by turning down the heat or air conditioning. Using blankets to stay warm or opening the windows to let in the cool night air will keep you comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep without consuming as much energy as you would during the day. You can also save energy by turning off all electronics you won’t need, such as your computer and kitchen appliances.

The hospitality industry, with an estimated 4.4 million guestrooms throughout the U.S. alone, contributes greatly to lodging-related waste. Next time you’re sleeping away from home, look for an environmentally friendly hotel. Many of these hotels are designated “green” because of their initiatives to reuse linens, towels, and even parts of mattresses that get damaged or dirty.

Although they aren’t too common just yet, mattress recycling centers are beginning to appear throughout the country. These sites separate the steel, wood, and other mattress parts that can be sent back into the manufacturing cycle and re-generated into other materials. BedBusters is a mattress recycling service that operates in the Bay Area.

Sustainability is personal, too. Respect your body by ensuring that you get enough good sleep. Even though the average recommended amount of sleep is 8 hours every night, some people need more or less, so figure out what your ideal amount of sleep is and make sure you get it. Check out these tips from the Mayo Clinic that suggest ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. A restful night will make you more useful to your family, friends, self, and duties.

Compiled by Hannah Slocum '11, Sustainability Intern

Tags: Take Action



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