Reducing your impact on the environment is the first, and maybe the most important, of the 4 Rs. 

By not using something in the first place, you save precious natural resources, energy, and landfill space. Some places in your life you can easily reduce include waste, water, and energy.


Reducing the amount of waste you create is a huge part of living a more sustainable, environmentally-conscious lifestyle.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2011, the United States generated 250 million tons of trash, which equates to 4.41 pounds of trash everyday per person.  Check out our tips to the right about how you can reduce your waste!


Ithaca College is committed to becoming climate neutral and reducing our carbon footprint. In May 2007, the college committed to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. According to the Department of Energy, computing/office resources have become the 3rd largest energy user in office and academic buildings, behind heating and cooling.

In recent studies across Ithaca College’s campus:

  • approximately 50% of all CPU’s were on over night
  • over 90% of all monitors were on over night
  • over 70% of desktop printers were on over night
  • almost 100% of copiers and network printers were on over night

The biggest way that we can save energy in our offices and homes is to turn off our electronics when they are not in use, especially over night.


Water is a finite resource, and according to the EPA, only about 0.3% of the water on Earth is usable by humans.  We need to share that small amount of usable fresh water between agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs.  We can't afford to waste any of it, but people unknowingly waste water every day!

Just like you calculated your carbon footprint, you can find out how big (or small!) your personal water footprint is. Once you've calculated your footprint, play around with the numbers to see how modifiying certain everyday activities (ex. keeping the tap on while brushing your teeth, eating meat, etc.) can reduce your footprint.

Keep in mind that water waste translates into energy waste!  Every drop of water we use must be sanitized, transported, and heated.  In fact, IC spends more money on heating water than on any other energy needs.