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  Sustainability Initiative  




Our Success Stories: Waste Minimization

Zero Waste Initiative


As a part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Aquinas College committed to becoming a zero waste to landfill campus by 2020.  The Center for Sustainability and Students Striving for Sustainability (S3) are partnering to further Aquinas’ commitment to sustainability by moving forward the goal to achieve campus-wide zero municipal solid waste by 2014.

To see our most up-to-date zero waste progress, please visit the Zero Waste Initiative page here.
Expansion of Composting Program
Implementation Status: Green compost bins are currently located in all campus buildings and are available to all campus community members.

During the fall of 2011, Aquinas College expanded its composting program across campus from 6 locations to over 60. Green bins with solid lids are now designated for compost collection, and these bins can be found next to the blue recycling bins in every building on campus. The expansion of the program also includes a focus on education for students, faculty, and staff through the placement of informational posters above each compost bin and through the distribution of informational cards via face-to-face meetings. Aquinas will continue composting through Spurt Industries, so not only can ALL food waste be composted (including meat, bones, and dairy products), but food soiled paper (like pizza boxes, used napkins, dirty paper plates, and paper coffee cups) and Bio-based plastic labeled as “compostable” can also be placed in the green compost bins.

E-Waste Not, E-Want Not
Implementation Status: Currently available to all campus community members
Submitted by the Staff Sustainability Committee (Feb. 2008), the "E-Waste Not, E-Want Not" proposal called for a regular electronic waste recycling program for all Aquinas staff, faculty, and students. Chad Buczkowski of Aquinas' Media Center generously offered up space in the Jarecki/Lacks Center for the collection and storage of unwanted and broken electronic equipment. At the end of each semester, a regular collection program in the dorms was also started with this proposal. All e-waste is donated to Comprenew Environmental, a local non-profit electronic waste recycler. The proposal received a value rating of 4 in the Joint Sustainability Committee, passed the Staff Sustainability Committee on April 2, and received provost approval shortly thereafter.
Light Bulb Recycling
In February 2009, Aquinas' Physical Plant Department began recycling all campus light bulbs.
Rolling in the Green: AQ’s New Paper Towel Dispensers
Aquinas’ Housekeeping Department is installing new paper towel dispensers during the remodeling of every bathroom on campus. The new “controlled-use" dispensers have two major advantages. According to the manufacturer, they typically reduce paper towel use by 15-20%. The dispensers also reduce the spread of germs, due to the "touch less" design of the unit.
Not only is the new dispensing system notable, but the Bay West paper purchased for the units also has some green credentials. The “Ecosoft” paper contains 100% recycled content (40% post-consumer and 60% post-industrial), and it is Green Seal certified. The paper towel retrofit is another example of Aquinas "walking the talk" of sustainability in our purchasing decisions.
One Saint's Junk is Another Saint's Treasure
Implementation Status: The web site is available on the Moose
Lead by Chair Brad Vandenbroeck, the Student Sustainability Committee developed a proposal to facilitate the donation or selling of unwanted goods to other community members. Through the Sustainability Initiative web site, students, staff, and faculty have the ability to post or search goods for sale (or donation). This proposal may decrease the amount of goods disposed of on campus, and therefore lessen the College's trash disposal expenses. Furthermore, "One Saint's Junk is Another Saint's Treasure" results in the reuse of goods, rather than the disposal of materials or the use of valuable resources to make a new product. The Joint Sustainability Committee assigned this proposal a value rating of 5 and Interim Provost Chaffee approved the proposal on Nov. 27, 2007.
Campus-Wide Recycling Program
Student Recycling

Recycling and composting bins can be found side-by-side all across campus.


Expanding Aquinas College’s recycling program was spurred by student pressure to have bins available for their use.  Before the bins were out, many offices on campus were only recycling office paper and cardboard.  However, students had no avenue to recycle, even of they desired to.  A collection system for plastics and metal waste was not made available to the campus community either. Therefore, a new recycling program was launched in January 2008, with more bins in accessible areas for students, faculty and staff.

>>More information and bin locations*

*Note: These links are only accessible from the Aquinas computer network and AQNet.