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In an effort to bring its values into practice, Macalester College has adopted a goal of Zero Waste by 2020.
What is Zero Waste and how does Macalester College define it?
The ideal Zero Waste community
- sends nothing to landfills and incinerators and
- continually strives to reduce the volume of recyclables, compostables, and toxic/hazardous materials.
This ambitious goal acts as a mental framework for guiding the Macalester College’s choices. The college will continue to reform its infrastructure and behavior in order to reach this goal.
In practice, Macalester, like all institutions, does not have full control over all of the waste generated on campus; some waste will be generated inevitably. Thus, Macalester adheres to the widely accepted Zero Waste International Alliance standard, which states that Zero Waste Institutions divert 90% of waste from landfills and incinerators.
A Zero Waste Committee oversees the implementation of this policy. Please contact Karen Porras (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Suzanne Savanick Hansen (email@example.com) for more information.
Composting is starting on campus January 1, 2013. Check out the details.
In late 2005 and early 2006, the Facilities Management department, with a grant from the State of Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, evaluated its trash and recycling efforts and contracts. It was determined the College had opportunities for increasing recycling and reducing trash by considering a “resource management” program in which both the trash and recycling activities would be “re-bid” to local vendors. A baseline waste audit in found that waste generated on campus is 37% recyclable, 36% compostable, 19% trash, and 8% reusable. In an effort to better handle this waste, Facilities Management retooled the recycling and waste infrastructure on campus to better facilitate proper collection and sorting. New waste and recycling bins with colored tops were installed in every campus building. New recycling bins are currently in process for the offices and dormitories. See more details on recycling.
Students in the 2010 Environmental Studies Senior Seminar in conjuction with Minnesota Waste Wise conducted a new waste sort and worked on zero waste projects. Please see Sustainability Data page for recycling and waste data.
Mac Free Swap: Mac Free Swap is an online trading program launched in 2009 that allows Macalester community members to post an unwanted item or to respond to another’s post in order to obtain an item. Mac Free Swap can be accessed through a link on the college’s community network, 1600 Grand, under the “Campus Resources” tab. A drop off site is also available for small items in the Sustainability Office in Kagin Commons.
EcoClamshell Take Out Containers: Eco Clamshells are available at the Grille. For free, students and faculty can check out the containers when they order a menu item from The Grille.
Reuseable Dishes: Bon Appétit offers regular dishes for if people are staying to eat at the Grill. In addition they offer a discount on coffee for people who bring their own Bon Appétit mug to the Grill.
Move Out Waste: In response to the traditionally overwhelming amount of waste generated when students move out the dormitories, a new collaborative program was set up by the Zero Waste Committee to capture useable material for a fall garage sale, offer electronics waste recycling, and promote recycling. The recycling rate jumped from 17% in 2008 to an impressive 46% in 2009 (including e-waste). Two rooms of material were stored on campus for resale at the fall Habitat for Humanity garage sale.
Food Waste as Pig Feed: As of February 9, 2009, food waste from Café Mac is picked up by Barthold Farms, cooked in a special truck, and transformed into feed for free range pigs. Students Natalie Locke and Abe Levine, as part of their sustainability student worker project this in the fall of 2008 researched food waste recycling options for Macalester in collaboration with the Zero Waste Committee. Making pig food out of Café Mac food waste, reduced waste hauling fees and keeps organic waste out of a landfill or incinerator. The program is expected to save money though reducing waste hauling fees. So far, the program has cut trash by 50%.