Sustainability Corner

Waste, waste, waste...
February 29, 2020
Sustainability Corner

This month's topic is waste, waste, and waste. First, we hope to GREATLY improve the way we are segregating our wastes streams at the point of generation. Later we will work on reducing what we generate, but for now, we are only diverting a low 60% of our waste, and of that, it is highly commingled or contaminated . If our waste is poorly sorted it can only go to a landfill. My challenge to our division is, are you willing to get involved to help our community grow and become a model for properly managing our waste and educating our students to do the same? Hopefully, your answer is a resounding yes, but my email inbox will tell the real story.  Hopefully, you have noticed the new three-stream receptacles starting to appear on campus.

These great new containers provide helpful pictograms to help with the often perplexing question of where does this go? I felt some reassurance while sitting in the airport the other day and watching people with waste in their hands standing in front of the three-stream container thoughtfully considering the proper place to deposit materials. Not only do these new containers help to reduce that challenge, but in addition, they protect the trash from rain. Hoping the rain will someday return. They also make it harder for critters to rummage through the container spreading trash and creating unnecessary work for our dedicated staff and students.  Lastly, they provide a compost stream!! You will also notice the same process expanding with regard to our dumpsters. We are starting to replace the beat up and leaking dumpsters with well-labeled dumpsters that will be properly colored in blue, black, and green to indicate single-stream recyclables, landfill waste, and compostables, respectively. 

In addition, Operational Sustainability will start presenting a monthly brown bag session to not only share information regarding properly segregating our own waste streams, but also provide the opportunity for you to begin compost collection in your own kitchen areas on campus.  If interested join me for “Trash Talk” at the Mario Savio area on the main quad at noon on Thursday, March 12. We will be expanding the program over time. Even if you do not want to start a composting stream in your own area come and ask those nagging questions you have about proper disposal.

Lastly, is our upcoming residential move-out. We are looking for dedicated volunteers that want to help educate our students so this never happens at move-out again.

We will be sending information out in the next month to provide information and necessary considerations for donation or at minimum proper segregation of waste streams. The volunteer time will be the weekend of commencement. If you are interested in getting engaged, please email