It’s the time of year when we pay special attention to materials management on campus. I like to use the term ‘material’ because we’ve evolved enough to know that “what we don’t want any more” is not all called trash. For example, at Bard last week, for Week 1 of Recyclemania, a nationwide recycling contest, we recycled 5200 pounds of paper, cardboard and containers. We composted 11,200 pounds of food scraps. We don’t track the ins and outs of our campus FreeUse store, but we know dozens of people frequent that store daily. And yes, we did make actual trash; we sent 20,600 pounds of trash 250 miles to Ontario County Landfill.
Our paper will be turned into cellulose insulation for homes. Our food scraps become soil. Our containers become any number of consumer products. If you do the math you’ll note that our trash reduction rate exceeded a commendable 50%. When we report to Recyclemania, our recycling rate shows up at 20% (we aren’t allowed to count food scraps in that rate).
The average Bard community member creates a pound of trash each day. Check your trash. What’s in there?
Can it go somewhere better – even if that means taking a few steps to a centralized recycling and re-use station? Might you think of a way to have not generated that trash to begin with? An enthusiastic composter has already shown me how he brings his banana peels home rather than sending them to western NY.
Tell us what you do to reduce, reuse or recycle by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll enter you in the weekly Caught Green Handed Raffle. Enter each week; we especially like to receive relevant photos (you can catch someone else that way and you both get in the raffle).