• <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/45673_ENVIRONMENTAL_STUDIES_HEADER.rev.1531493113.png)"/>
  • <div style="background-image:url(/live/image/gid/30/width/1600/height/300/crop/1/29902_environmental_studies_group_header.rev.1450298247.png)"/>

Environmental Studies

Waste Management

Word tree made of words associated with sustainability

Efforts to reduce waste and encourage recycling are ongoing campus wide. These efforts include improving the accessibility of recycling containers, using biodegradable utensils, tracking food waste, and installing electric hand-dryers. 

Reduce

To decrease paper use, computers on campus are all set to duplex printing as the default. Additionally, many professors encourage electronic, rather than hardcopy, submissions of assignments and most professors use Moodle, an online learning management system, to post assignments, syllabi, discussion forums, etc. Paper waste was substantially reduced by installing electric hand-dryers in multiple buildings around campus. Between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, nearly $8,000 worth of paper towels were saved. The college’s food service provider, Aramark, began using LeanPath in 2017 to track their pre-consumer food preparation waste. The program allows workers to record the time of, reason for, and amount of food waste. This data helps focus training for each individual worker on the areas in which they can improve.

Reuse

During move-out periods, donation boxes are placed in each residence hall for students to donate their unwanted items rather than throwing them away. This way, more items are reused instead of ending up in a landfill. The college also reuses its food scraps as nutrient-rich compost in the campus garden. Since 2010, compostable food waste from the dining hall has been collected during the gardening season. The scraps are put into the three composting containers behind the garden and are gradually transformed into nutrient packed soil that the gardeners will use to grow fresh organic produce. As of 2017, students and employees of the college also have access to a compost bin (pictured below) located next to Ravine Lodge where they can drop off their personal compostable waste. 

Compost bin next to Ravine Lodge

Recycle

Major progress has been made in regards to recycling on campus because of efforts to make recycling more accessible and efforts to offer more recyclable packaging options. Almost all packaging for food sold on campus is made of recyclable paper or plastic. All academic and public buildings on campus possess multiple clearly labeled, blue recycling bins in strategic places. To encourage students to recycle more, each room in every residence halls is equipped with its own recycling bin. A recycling dumpster can easily be accessed next to each residence hall to conveniently empty the bins into when they are full. Recycling on campus has increased dramatically since recycling dumpsters were placed in more numerous and convenient locations around campus. Work is being done to make the dumpsters more conspicuous to encourage even more people to recycle. The recycling dumpsters are often difficult to distinguish from the regular trash dumpsters so stickers have been purchased to make the recycling dumpsters stand out. It has been discussed that the recycling dumpsters might be painted blue in the future to further eliminate confusion. Making the recycling dumpsters stand out not only helps to increase recycling, but it also reduces the risk of the recycling being contaminated with non-recyclable materials.