A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
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1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
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The Purchasing Department has had a student worker position for three years. Check out the Purchasing Sustainability webpage for more information.
Environmental Preferable Purchasing Policy (EP3): Currently under development, the EP3 will be a campus-wide document to ensure that Macalester’s purchases are socially, environmentally, and economically responsible. The EP3 acts as a formal set of guidelines that establish this commitment to reduce negative environmental and social impacts resulting from the ways that products are sourced, produced, packaged, used and disposed. The policy is also intended to increase transparency and increase sustainability awareness between Macalester buyers, vendors, and users.
100% Recycled Paper: Since 2010, the college uses 100% recycled content paper for the regular copy paper used in Document Services, computer labs, instead of the 30% recycled content paper that has been our standard. By using 100% recycled paper, the campus is expected to save 655 trees and 299,793 gallons of water annually.
Toilet Paper and Paper Towels: Facilities Services changed the toilet paper and paper towels used on campus to a 100% recycled and are Green Seal certified, no-chlorine products. The new products are substantially cheaper, and will save Macalester about $26,000 a year in purchasing costs.
Cleaning Supplies: Facilities Management is testing three green cleaning product lines right now on campus. The early results show that the custodians are very satisfied with the performance of all three, and it is our goal that by the end of 2008 Macalester will have switched over to a completely non-toxic cleaning system.
Compostable Cups: Macalester began purchasing compostable non-toxic paper cups from Clover Nook Center for the Blind. These cups will replace the small white styrofoam logo-ed cups that have been used in catering, and the brown cups at the Grille. Clover nook is a 103 year-old non-profit in Ohio that works with the blind and visually impaired community. The cups are made by a workforce that is 75% blind or visually impaired who receive a living wage with benefits. The cups were the same price as our original white cups – they were slightly more expensive than the cups at the Grille, but there will be no increase in prices for drinks. Macalester purchases over 55,000 cups a year. These cups will already be compostable for when Macalester begins organics collection in the next 2-3 years.
Workers Rights Consortium: Macalester is a member of the Worker's Rights Consortium, an independent organization that monitors the labor practices of factories that produce apparel in order to fight the prevalent use of sweatshops. As a member of WRC, Macalester annually sends labor Codes of Conduct to all of its apparel suppliers in order to confirm that our suppliers adhere to labor standards and do not use sweatshops. The WRC hopes to implement a new program called the Designated Supplier's Program (DSP) to further combat sweatshops. The DSP will create safe space in the global apparel market for factories to increase workers' wages without fear of the investment flight that often occurs. Macalester will hopefully become a member of the DSP by the end of Spring Semester 2008 to support the program that aims to begin its implementation by May 2009. Visit Workers Rights Consortium foror more information.
Food Service: Bon Appétit is a nation-wide food service company which operates Macalester’s cafeteria, Café Mac. The organization is a leader in environmental accountability and in incorporating sustainability objectives into their business. Bon Appétit has launched several campaigns in the past to utilize more sustainable food sources, and many of these have been undertaken at Café Mac. Such programs include: the Seafood Watch, the annual Eat Local Challenge, Circle of Responsibility Program (in which Café Mac began to purchase only cage-free eggs and anti-biotic free chickens), the bi-yearly 100% compostable picnic, initiatives to decrease food waste through education, the Farm to Fork program (initiative to purchase food from within a 150 mile radius of the institution. Café Mac currently obtains milk from a creamery in Hastings, MN, grass-fed beef from a processor in Cannon Falls, MN and local produce when in season. Café Mac is currently striving to obtain a minimum of 10% of all food products from local sources) and launched the Low Carbon Diet in spring, 2008. A journalism student explored the topic of food service in this paper Debate Rages as Café Mac Examines Low Carbon Diet, May 2008 by Jamie Macpherson.
Reuseable Take Out Containers: As part of her job as a sustainability student worker in the Procurement Office, Hannah Rivenburgh research and implemented a reusable takeout container program at the Macalester College campus Grille. The Eco Clamshells are preferable to recyclable plastic and compostable options because they reduce the amount of waste entering the waste stream, thus moving Macalester College toward its goal of Zero Waste. The EcoClamshell has replaced all large takeout containers, except for the grab-and-go options. For a one-time fee of $3, students and faculty can check out the containers when they order a menu item from The Grille.