Sustainability at Reed


Minimizing use of both convenience items and important utilities can reduce global carbon impacts.

Bring Your Own and Buy Bulk

Single-use plastics such as disposable cups, plates and silverware, and to-go containers (unless compostable) are not sustainable. To reduce the usage of these items, bring a reusable mug, water bottle, and to-go container when eating away from home.

Make a habit of bringing your own bags with you to the grocery store. Buy bulk—you can usually bring your own bags or containers for this purpose (some local Portland stores, like Winco, require you to use their bags for bulk items, but they allow you to reuse them). Here is a map of locations where you can shop in bulk or BYO container.

Check the Label

Select soaps, cleaning products, and detergents that are biodegradable. Consider eating mostly vegan or vegetarian foods from lower on the food chain (e.g., plants, grains, etc.) to have a lower impact on greenhouse gas, deforestation, and water use footprints.


Use Reusable Plates, Cups, and Silverware in Commons 

You can take Commons plates, cups, and silverware anywhere on campus, but they must be returned (no more than a day after use). Returning these items quickly helps Commons avoid replacing them which increases costs and adds to the landfill. Note, Reed spends $15,000 to $30,000 per year on replacement dishes.  

Save Your Energy

If it’s plugged in, it’s pulling energy. Make a habit of unplugging cords and appliances when not in use and always turn off lights when you leave a room. Consider hang-drying laundry to save energy used by dryers.