Sustainability Initiative  
 

 

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Zero-Waste Initiative

 
Collection Systems Take the Pledge Events and Competitions
Education Rethinking Waste Zero Waste Team Members
 

As a part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Aquinas College is working to achieve campus-wide zero municipal solid waste by 2014. Zero waste is defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance as over a 90% diversion of waste, such that less than 10% of discards are landfilled/incinerated.

 

Our Zero Waste Team assists in educational programs concerning Aquinas’ waste streams.  With collaboration of faculty, staff, and students, Aquinas will incrementally reduce our waste by 25% each semester, by continuing campus composting and recycling efforts as well as the added effort of special collection systems. With everyone working together, we can reach this aggressive goal and be a zero waste campus by 2014!

 
Progress Update

The college has been aggressively working on the zero waste initiative for two years now, and we are quickly approaching the end of the 2014 calendar year. As of spring 2014, the college averaged almost an 80% diversion rate! Because of the increase in compostable and recyclable waste (and decrease in trash), we were able to adjust our dumpsters and save over $500 per month on disposal costs.


We’re right on track with our progress, but we couldn’t have made it here without the help and support of students, staff, faculty, and the administration. We would especially like to thank our zero waste gurus, the housekeeping department, as well as all faculty, staff, and students. Keep up the great work AQ! Stay tuned for updates on these improvements.

 
Collection Systems
Click on the links below to learn more out about recycling, special collections, and composting programs.
 
Recycling: Aquinas’ recycling program is a single stream system, meaning all paper, plastic, glass, and tin can be disposed of in the same bin. Blue recycling bins can be found in every building on campus.
 
Special Collections: Special collections to recycle other "non-traditional" materials are located in nearly every campus building. The stations offer an opportunity to dispose of styrofoam, Terracyle items, e-waste, batteries, ink cartridges, and goodwill donations.
 
Composting: Aquinas College has partnered with Michigan-based, Spurt Industries to compost the campus' organic waste. Spurt Industries has built a business around recycling organic waste materials, helping to reduce the amount of waste that enters landfills while creating nutrient-rich soil products. The top soil and mulch products are sold for use in lawns, gardening, flower beds, and other applications. Like our recycling program, green composting bins can be found in every building on campus. Targeted collections for paper towel are in place in bathrooms and select labs.
 
Take the Pledge
Demonstrate your commitment to the Zero Waste Initiative at Aquinas by pledging to seriously address waste in your office. Sign the Zero Waste Pledge today! >Download the PDF
Click here to view a list of the offices who have already committed to Zero Waste.
 
 
Education
If your department or office is interested in a personalized zero waste training, please contact Jessica Eimer in the Center for Sustainability.
 
Test your knowledge about recycling and composting at Aquinas by downloading our quiz. >Download the PDF
 
Rethinking Waste
Compostable Products with CDS: In response to AQ’s zero waste goal of 2014, Creative Dining Services (CDS) has phased out all disposable coffee cups to compostable cups (Insulair brand cups). CDS also made changes to the “to go” containers used on campus.  We now use Pactive Earthchoice to go containers which can also be composted. To check out other sustainability initiatives of Campus Dining, please visit their website.
 
One Saint’s Junk is Another Saint’s Treasure: An online forum where members of the Aquinas Community can connect with others on campus to find items for donation and advertise unwanted goods. On The Moose, select "Sustainability Initiative" in the right hand navigation section to access "One Saint's Junk."