Fall into Sustainability

Changing leaves and cooler temperatures signal a new season has arrived at NC State University. Keep these tips in mind to stay sustainable this fall.

1. Pick Local Pumpkins

Whether you use pumpkins as decor, to carve jack-lanterns or to create tasty fall treats, pick pumpkins from a local farm or market. Purchasing local food promotes our state’s food economy and cuts carbon emissions through decreased transportation needs.

2. Sustainable Sweater Weather

It may be chilly, but choose to reuse last year’s fall wardrobe instead of buying new. If you do need to make a purchase, visit a local thrift store and look for clothing made from natural fibers that have a longer lifespan.

3. Conscious Candy

Fun-sized treats dominate the markets, but unfortunately their plastic wrappers are not recyclable. If you choose to partake in the season’s sweet treats, look for candy that comes in cardboard boxes or in their own packaging, like apples and oranges. 

4. BYO Mug

Sip more sustainably by using your own mug to drink your favorite fall drink. Remember most to-go beverages are served in non-recyclable cups. Cups made from plastic and paper that contain a shiny plastic liner on the inside belong in the landfill. The only exception to landfilling these single-use cups are cups labeled compostable, which can be composted on campus.

5. Energy Savings

Instead of cranking the thermostat up, bundle up in a cozy sweater or blanket to keep warm in cooler weather. Utilize curtains to let daylight and warmth in during the day and to hold lower temperatures at bay overnight. Pull the plug on electronics that are not in use and remember to hit the light switch when you’re leaving the room.

6. Leave the Leaves

Let fallen leaves break down naturally instead of raking them up for disposal. Leaves provide a natural mulch to improve soil health and a natural wildlife habitat species, such as turtles, toads and caterpillars. Leaves also make a great addition to your garden beds and/or home compost piles.

7. Embrace Nature

Nature provides a cornucopia of products that can be used to decorate your space. Look to the outdoors instead of purchasing single-use decorations. Items like pumpkins, gourds, branches and pinecones can save you money and cozy up your home.

8. Celebrate Sustainably

Go green for Halloween this year and take steps to reduce your waste through reuse, recycling and composting. Reuse last year’s costume or swap one with a friend. If you’re hosting a party, avoid disposable decor and supplies and encourage guests to bring their own cups. Remember to set out separate containers for recyclable cans and bottles and compostable products or food scraps.