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Green Move-In Tips

From UVA Sustainability


Pack fragile items WITH...
  • Your clothes (the no-waste solution!)
  • Plastic or paper grocery bags (Recycle when done)
  • Re-used newspaper (Recycle when done)
...instead of packing peanuts or anything Styrofoam, which is harmful to the environment.
Pack items IN...
  • Trash bags: They fit in the car better, and you can reuse them later for trash
  • Suitcases, messenger bags, book bags, etc.: Use bags you are bringing with you to school for packing
  • Plastic storage containers: You can use the big type for storage later. The kinds with drawers that you use as furniture are also great - pack in them, tape up the drawers, and there you go!
  • Reused cardboard boxes: Don't buy new boxes - check local businesses, many will give them to you for free. Look in cardboard recycling containers. After you move in, keep the boxes folded up to move out with, or recycle them at UVA


Try to just bring one vehicle, with the best fuel efficiency possible for the size. Consider carpooling with others coming from your area if you can.

Items to Bring

A water-filtering pitcher and reusable bottles
Bottled water is a waste of your precious Plus dollars that you could be spending on real food, like those delicious offerings at the dining hall. Also, it creates a lot of plastic waste that you could avoid by just reusing bottles. If you must have a bottle of water here or there, don't forget to recycle it. Don't bring big packs of bottled water with you - they waste room in the car and of course, waste nonrenewable resources.
Reusable plates, cups, silverware and food containers
Don't bring disposables. Reusable items are much more durable, usually take up less space, and aren't wasteful. Reusable containers are great to have around for leftover food. They're less wasteful than a bunch of small plastic bags, and they fit in the fridge better than to-go containers.

Have a Dining Plan? You Can Still Reuse!

Register for UVA Dining's reusable to-go container program, and you will receive two reusable to-go program key tags. Each key tag is to be exchanged for a reusable to-go container when getting take-out from UVA Dining locations. Return your dirty container so Dining can wash it, and get another key tag that serves as a token for you to check out your next clean container. Participation requires a $5 safety deposit (to be refunded when you leave the program).

Dish soap and sponge
To wash your reusable containers, plates, silverware, and cups!
At least two hand towels
Don't use the paper towels in your bathroom unless you really need to! You could waste a whole tree by the end of your first year. Have a hand towel of your own you can wipe your face and hands with - and trust us, your towel will feel a lot better than the scratchy paper.
Drying Rack
Drying some clothes on a rack will not only save you a serious amount of quarters, but will reduce energy use, and keep clothes from shrinking.
Power strip
It will help you plug in everything in an organized way, and when you leave your room, you can turn off the strip to save energy. (Even when items are turned off, they still draw energy, and a power strip allows you to easily prevent this "phantom power" without having to manually unplug everything).
CFL light bulbs
Compared to incandescent light bulbs, CFLs use ¼ the amount of energy for the same amount of light and last ten times as long. Plus, incandescent bulbs get really hot and can be a fire/burn hazard.
Green supplies
In a place that's crowded with people, you want to keep clean in a way that won't cause fume hazards to yourself and everyone else. Traditional harsh cleaners also negatively affect the environment, and our UVA area flows to the Chesapeake Bay. Please do your part to keep the bay clean! Look for green sprays, soaps, shampoos, tissues, paper towels, and more.
A Bicycle
Get to class faster, and travel around Charlottesville with ease!
A Plant
Small plants are easy to care for, provide oxygen, and brighten up your atmosphere.

Don't Want to Pack it All? Shop When You Arrive!

Check out the UVa Bookstore - they carry many green items, like CFL light bulbs and recycled school supplies!

Also stop by UVA Parking & Transportation's On Grounds Bike Sale to pick up everything you need to travel around Grounds by bike.

School Supplies

Get supplies for free from the Reusable Office Supply Exchange (ROSE) Program
Run by UVA Sustainability and UVA Recycling. Come browse shelves of donated binders, file folders, printer ink, organization trays, and anything else you can imagine. All of it is available for free, 8am-5pm, all year long, at the UVA Recycling Building at the end of Leake Drive (right next to O-Hill Dining Hall). Call UVA Recycling (434) 982-5050 or UVA Sustainability (434) 243-8594 if you need help finding it.
Buy recycled paper, notebooks, binders, and more!
It's important to close the recycling loop!

And when you get here...

Recycle at Move-In
Ask Greeters and RAs to help show you what to recycle and where. Special drop-off sites will be available for cardboard. If you have any questions, call (434) 982-5050 or look for anyone with a UVA Recycling shirt on - the crew will be out collecting your recycling as you move in!
Get a Recycling 2-sort for your room
If you put the 2-sort in your room before you unpack, you can recycle materials as you're unpacking. You'll also find a space for it in your room before you place all your other items, to ensure you have room for it. 2-sorts are available near the recycling containers outside your residence hall. If you can't find one, ask an RA or Greeter. Also, you can call (434) 982-5050 to obtain one at any point in the year.
Check out the Sustainability Advocacy Program
If you are interested in educating your peers about sustainability, apply to be a Sustainability Advocate. Even if you don't apply, look out for the emails and posters throughout the school year from your Sustainability Advocate for tips and news. Last but not least, check out all the other sustainability efforts at UVA.
Participate in the UVA Green Challenge
Using the tips listed here will help you live greener at UVA. Talk to your friends about how to get involved too. The Green Challenge is a competition to see who can earn the most green points. Winners wlll get prizes, along with the knowledge that you helped our environment in a major way.
Please make sure to reduce energy and water use, reuse as much as you can, and recycle everything you can.
  • Control thermostats (where possible) - every degree amounts to a 7% energy savings.
  • Ride your bicycle and use UVA Public Transportation. Our buses run on biodiesel!
  • Turn lights off when not in use.
  • Turn off and unplug your computer when not in use, and turn your power strips off to reduce "phantom" energy usage.
  • Fill unused mini-fridge space with a jug full of water - otherwise your fridge is working harder to cool empty air.
  • Wash in cold water, from laundry to hands, to eliminate the energy that is used to heat the water.
  • Reduce your shower temperature and length to drastically reduce your energy use and water consumption.
  • Turn the water off while brushing teeth and shaving. Running water wastes 1.5 gallons per minute.

To learn more, go to, listen to your Sustainability Advocate, talk to your friends about sustainability tips, and be a model of green behavior for others. You might even get "Caught Green Handed" and get a prize if we see you being green...