December 2014 eNewsletter

A snowy Tappan Square path at dusk.

From the desk of OES: What’s the limit for this gift exchange? What’s your return policy? Are you checking your emails over break? These are some of the questions you might hear during this holiday season. People in a tizzy rushing from store to store buying gifts, cleaning their home incessantly before the in-laws come over, women in kitchens making enough to feed their extended families. Happy holidays? While this time of year can bring stress, busyness, and overspending, it can also usher in reflection, gratitude, quality time with loved ones, and all the joys that matter most to you.

With the loss of loved ones, this year my family is focusing more on cherishing one another than on excessive gift-giving; this is a welcome change of pace for me — and a more sustainable one for our family, our wallets, and our planet. I am exceptionally grateful for my supportive family at home and at work, my health, the opportunity to do work I love and to have a break from it. I hope your holiday season and new year is filled with special memories, your fair share of relaxation and rejuvenation, and joyous celebration alongside family and friends. We’ll see you next year!
– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

News & Announcements:

  • Spam: You may have noticed this eNewsletter is shorter than usual. Some of our subscribers have reported that this message has gotten filtered into their spam folder. In order to test if there’s anything we can do differently, we shortened this letter and removed some photos to see if it might help. If this doesn’t, expect all the glorious photos and content to make a comeback.
  • Winter Shutdown: From December 24 to January 1, most College offices — including the Office of Environmental Sustainability — are closed. During this time of reduced operations, the college uses smart energy management to reduce fossil fuel use, see here. Here at OES are very grateful for this time off to relax and spend time with our loved ones.
  • College Recycling: By the time students return for the start of spring semester, the College’s recycling program should be fully back in action. The celebration of the new recycling trucks was a great, as you might have seen hereor here.
  • Interns: This semester saw the largest cohort of OES interns in history! Talk about a source of renewable energy… the interns have accomplished so much already, expanded the capacity of our small office, and contributed greatly. The OES is so thankful for all of our bright, engaged interns and CBSM researchers and look forward to sharing their developments and insights next semester, too.

Upcoming Events:
For all environmental-related events on campus – check out the Environmental Events Calendar! If you would like it to be shared with you, email Bridget. If you would like one of your events to be added to eNewsletter, please email us.

Enjoy time with family and friends this winter! No events over shut-down and minimal in January as we prepare for an exciting spring semester!

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website:


The United States produces 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Years than the rest of the year. That amounts to a whopping 25 million tons of garbage! If every household reused 2 feet of ribbon and wrapped 3 gifts with reused materials, about 38,000 miles of ribbon and enough paper to stretch across 45,000 football fields would be saved.

Did you know?
  • The City of Oberlin Public Works Department is accepting non-working holiday lights, power cords, and power strips for recycling during the month of December! These items can be dropped off at City Hall (85 S. Main St.) from 8am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday.
  • The City of Oberlin’s new recycling trucks are now in use! The trucks have a hybrid-hydraulic engine, making them very fuel efficient. Recycling is single stream, which is expected to increase recycling rates! The new residential bins are on wheels and will make it easier to recycle. Commercial recycling will resume at the start of the new year.

Green Tips

  • Zero Waste Holiday Party: If you plan on entertaining large groups of people this holiday season, a little extra planning can help reduce waste. Coordinate whose bringing what. Minimize the garbage by asking people to bring their own cups, plates and utensils if you don’t have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins. Be sure to recycle any post-party cans and bottles and compost food scraps.
  • Make or Reuse Decorations: Rather than spending money on new Christmas décor, try some DIY decorations (which can be a really fun craft project for kids!; or make a tradition out of reusing family and vintage Christmas décor) that can can reuse year after year.

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