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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Environmental Sustainability

Green Conservation
Twenty percent of the food we buy never gets eaten. Below are three fast, easy shopping tips to start cutting down on food waste: -Make a list, use it, and stick to it! This could help lower your grocery bill, make fewer shopping trips, and be less susceptible to impulse buys. - Buy food of all shapes and sizes. Scarred and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables are perfectly good to eat. If we don't buy them, the store will toss them. - Scrutinize deals. Five bananas for a dollar is a good deal only if you eat all five. Also, many stores offer the sale price even if you buy less than the stated quantity. For more information on food waste and shopping guidelines, visit

Shop Smart, Save Food

An elevator uses about 100 Watt hours per round trip (20 floors) per person, about how much a desktop computer and monitor use running for 30 minutes. By ditching the lift in a typical office, you will save about 33 lbs. of C02 a month. Using the stairs burns twice as many calories as walking. It also helps build leg muscle and keep your heart healthy. Studies show office workers save up to 15 minutes a day by taking the stairs.

Go Green, Get Fit

Latex paint is the most popular paint on the market, accounting for approximately 85 percent of the paint sales in the US. But it can pose environmental problems if poured down the drain/storm drain; or is disposed of in the regular trash. Next time you have leftover paint, consider: Using it up - Save it for touch ups; Giving it away - Ask your neighbor, check with schools, offer to charitable organizations; Recycling it - See if your household hazardous waste collection program accepts latex paint.

Save the Paint!

Before using potentially harmful pesticides in your home and garden, consider pest control without chemicals. Certain plants and plant extracts are natural bug repellants and are safer, eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides. -Spray your garden with a garlic-concentrated extract to ward off insects - just make sure not to apply right before rain! - Plant or pot natural mosquito repellants, like rosemary, basil, citronella, and lavendar. - Look for lemon eucalyptus oil repellants, the only plant- based repellant recommended by the CDC, instead of those with the pesticide DEET. For more information about inspect repellant use and safety, visit

Plant-Based Pest Controls

Idle load electricity account for about 25 percent of power consumption and the electricity bill in the average household. Always on devices include computers in sleep mode, TVs, coffee makers, DVRs, speakers, and other electronic gadgets. To reduce wasted power and money: (1) Plug electronics into a power strip. You can turn them all off with the flip of a switch. (2) Install a power meter, which can tell you how much energy a device is using when sitting idle. These cheap and simple gadgets give you the option to change your behavior. (3) Talk about this problem with your family and friends. To learn more about idle load electricity go to:

Knowledge Saves Power

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Inherently tied to this mission is our obligation to promote healthy American Indian and Alaska Native communities and our responsibility to ensure the well-being of the environment we work in, both indoors and outdoors.

To address this need for healthy and sustainable practices, IHS strives to not only meet all federal requirements but also to be forward-acting on all environmental efforts.

To minimize our impact on the environment, IHS staff, contractors, and suppliers try to ensure that environmental considerations are introduced at the earliest stages possible when planning and implementing agency operations. This website provides information on what IHS is doing as an agency, and what you as an individual can do for sustainability. In addition, it provides resources, trainings, and events to help further inform everyone about sustainability.