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Q&A: Michigan Ross Faculty and Staff Aim to Reduce Waste at Home and at Work

There are small things each of us can do in our daily lives to protect our environment. Biking to work, recycling, composting, and buying food in bulk are a few examples. Many Michigan Ross staff and faculty are doing their part by living more sustainable lifestyles.

To learn more about how members of our Michigan Ross community reduce waste at home and at work, we asked some of our faculty and staff to share their own environmental sustainability tips.

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Charlene Zietsma
Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
Professor of Business Administration

I walk to work and many other places. I compost. I manage my diet to minimize food waste, extra packaging, food miles, and proteins that are greenhouse gas-intensive. We have a rain garden and a rain barrel system to collect rainwater for irrigation. We manage the thermostat to conserve energy. We hang our clothes instead of using a dryer. I grade online instead of on paper.

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Ravi Anupindi
Colonel William G. and Ann C. Svetlich Professor of Operations Research and Management
Professor of Technology & Operations

I try to use less of everything, buy only when needed, buy with minimal packaging, compost, and recycle.

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Sandhya Krishnan
Associate Director of Corporate Relations, Office of Advancement

I try to do what I can on the individual level. Some small actions that I take at home include: having a container in the fridge for compostable items, asking myself and teaching the kiddo, “Do we just want this or do we need this?”, using a piece of paper inside a picture frame with a dry erase marker for an easy reusable place for grocery list making and calendar. At work, having a plate, set of utensils, and kitchen towel in a drawer helps me avoid using single-use items at lunch.


Gabe Peterson
Brand Manager, Office of Marketing and Communications

People sometimes get discouraged or overwhelmed when they think about all the waste in the world. It’s easy to think that the things you do as an individual won’t make a huge difference. A plane taking off probably burns more fuel than I save by biking to and from work for a year. Still, I take some comfort in the fact that I’m doing something to reduce my impact on the environment. As the saying goes, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Here are a few things I do to reduce my impact on the environment: We use home solar, I bike to and from work most days, and I drive a hybrid car. My family also rarely uses a clothes dryer. In the winter, we hang it in the laundry room, and it introduces much-needed moisture in the house. In the summer, the fresh air makes our clothes smell great. In addition, we are pretty dedicated composters and recyclers and keep a small garden – often watered via a rain barrel system – in our yard for herbs and veggies. At work, I use reusable or compostable utensils for lunch and really try to limit how much I use the printer/copier.

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Hannah Anglin
Student-Alumni Affairs Coordinator, Erb Institute

I compost, recycle, and use reusable bags for grocery shopping (and for produce, too!). I also find fabulous items through thrifting, make sure to eat the leftovers after a big dinner, use reusable containers for my lunches, clean my house with reusable cloths, turn the water off when I am brushing my teeth, re-wear clothes that are still clean instead of throwing them in the wash, only print the documents I need vs. printing lots of extras “in case I need them,” walking/longboarding short distances rather than driving, and get takeout from restaurants that package food in compostable containers.

At Michigan Ross and the University of Michigan, there are many resources available for faculty, staff, and students to learn about waste reduction. If you’re interested in learning more about U-M sustainability initiatives and what you can do to help, check out the links below.

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