Sustainability Pledge

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to reducing the impact it and others have on the environment through its operational and research initiatives. To become a truly sustainable community, WashU needs help from you — the students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners.

In taking the WashU Sustainability Pledge, you can make a personal commitment to sustainable living by incorporating tips into your everyday routine.

The pledge contains six items and takes approximately two minutes to complete.

  • Energy

    • Compact fluorescent light bulbs consume 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. LEDs use less energy and last longer than CFLs, and are free from harmful chemicals. Remember to dispose of CFLs properly; due to their mercury content, they should not be placed in regular landfills.
    • If students living in an apartment off-campus were to replace 15 of their light bulbs with CFLs, in one month they would save over $15. With these savings, the CFLs would pay for themselves in less than six months. Confused about CFLs? For more information, visit
    • If every American home replaced just one light with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.
    • CFLs are available for purchase at the Campus Bookstore on the Danforth Campus and at local hardware and grocery stores.
  • Food

  • According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 96 billion pounds of food goes to waste every year in the United States. This requires energy to create wasted food, and it requires additional fossil fuels for transportation and disposal.
  • Water

  • According to Water Use It Wisely, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth can save up to 25 gallons of water each month. For more water-saving tips, visit
  • Transportation

  • In 2009, faculty, staff and students commuting to campus — and air travel to Washington University events — were responsible for generating 54,200 metric tons of CO2, or 13% of the university’s total emissions during the fiscal year. To learn more, see WUSTL's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. As campus parking lots disappear due to new buildings, we are forced to construct subsurface parking garages; individual spaces can cost as much as $45,000 per spot! Leave your car at home: WeCar, Washington University’s car-sharing program, is available for travel around St. Louis and is subsidized by the university so that you only pay $5/hour. Visit for more information. For help on how to get around St. Louis without a car, please see this map.
  • Waste

  • According to the Clean Air Council, Americans throw out enough forks, spoons, paper and plastic cups each year to circle the equator 300 times.
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