Loyola University Chicago

- Navigation -

Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Green Your Office

The office is the easiest place to begin making a positive impact to reduce energy consumption and reduce waste through less packaging, no disposables and paper reduction. Faculty and staff can be provided with regular, friendly reminders to take action in each of the categories noted below.

Motivation, Education and Action

Usually there are a few in each department that have already incorporated “green” behaviors on a daily basis, both at home and at work. These folks are ideal to be the “eco-rep” for your department. They can chair a group in charge of activities the whole office can get involved in:

The Office of Sustainability will provide monthly themes to educate and inform on topics such as energy, water, food, waste, recycling and more. These messages can be incorporated in friendly emails, informative lunch gatherings and postings.

Sign up to receive online resources and higher education sustainability news at the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

From your department's home page, link to Loyola’s Office of Sustainability


Turn the lights off when not in use during the day and at night, including common areas.

If able to do so, use natural daylight and switch off the lights.

Use desk lamps instead of ceiling lights.

Set the computer power setting to turn the monitor off after 5 minutes of inactivity and put it to sleep after 10 minutes.  This helps reduce energy usage by 95%.

Avoid the computer screen saver—use the "sleep mode," which uses less energy than the screen saver.

Use smart power strips as central turn-off points at each work station and switch them off each night, and before heading out for the weekend, vacations and holiday breaks.

Microwaves, coffee makers and appliances are unplugged at night or can be programmed to shut off through a timer.


Purchase materials, such as paper, made from high post-consumer recycled content.

Purchase and use refillable pens and pencils.

Need Furniture? Check in with Loyola's Purchasing Department for any surplus or used items before buying new items.

Check Loyola's Iggy’s list for items available for trade or resale, or post your own unwanted supplies there.

Each person has their own pair of scissors, stapler and printer? Why? Identify supplies and equipment which can be shared.

Computers, printers, copiers: Loyola’s ITS has energy saving standards for equipment.  Please go through the proper channels to purchase according to ITS guidelines

Appliances:  Choose the “Energy Star” certified models.

Use environmentally-friendly, phosphate free dish detergent and non-aerosol sprays.

Avoid purchasing paper towels and napkins (not recyclable).  However if you must, please purchase unbleached and/or chlorine free products.

Achieve ZERO Waste

The first “R” in “RRR” is Reduce.  Start with that first “R” and REDUCE. After that, reuse and recycle as much as you can.  Producing new products requires energy, water and is overall resource intensive.  That’s why reduce, reuse and recycle is the easiest approach to cut back on unnecessary purchasing.

Bring in reusable plates, cups, glasses, utensils and cloth napkins for lunch and snacks. Staff can keep them at their work areas or if there is a departmental kitchen, store them in the kitchen.

Keep a travel mug handy for those coffee/tea runs.

Do not purchase bottled water.  If you have a kitchen, departments can budget for a water cooler which filters water from the tap.

Waste Reduction Strategies

Set up a central location for trash and recycling bins and remove deskside bins.  People become more aware of the items they use briefly that end up in the landfill. Besides, it is another way to take a walk and burn some calories.

Scan documents for electronic distribution and storage.


Set up a “reuse paper” station for staff to use as scratch paper and to print drafts or other documents not intended as final versions.

Set up a designated area for office supplies that can be shared and reused (pens, clips, folders, etc.) and promote.


Recycling replaces virgin material production and greatly reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  At Loyola, we make it easy to recycle. 

The Loyola recycling webpage LUC.edu/recycle has all the information you need to successfully recycle in your office.

Ensure electronics are recycled according to Loyola’s ITS department.

For small personal electronics and batteries, drop off at the locations available to collect items for recycling at both lakeside campuses.

Recycle empty toner cartridges from network printers and copy machines. 

Food, Coffee/ Tea and Catered Events

Make yourself lunch, and bring it in reusable containers instead of plastic baggies.

Purchase fair-trade, locally roasted or shade grown coffee/teas for the department.

Use coffee/tea makers that do not require disposable filters or individual style packets.

Catering an event or meeting?  Check out the Green Event Planning Guide and Checklist.

Have a southern exposure in your department or office windows? Set up a mini-herb planter garden and encourage colleagues to take a snip of herbs for home meals. There must be someone in your department with a “green” thumb.

Hold monthly informal brown bag lunches with meals with a seasonal and local food focus.


To and from the office, Loyola’s transportation options are a great way to cut your impact from driving, not to mention driving's impact of stress and tension on you.

Organize a "Transportation Quality of Life" day each week. Those that can bike should cycle to the office. Those that can use modes of transportation other than a car should take transit. (All that reading you would like to do but do not have time for? Taking transit gives you back time to relax and read!)

Carpooling can be organized amongst office members.

Use the Flexible Work Schedule Policy and telecommuting if all other options are not feasible. Use VPN to gain remote access of your office computer while working from home.


Institute of Environmental Sustainability
Loyola University Chicago · 1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660 · Phone: 773-508-2130 · IES@luc.edu

Notice of Non-discriminatory Policy