Zero Waste

Global problem: The Clean Air Council reports that Americans alone throw out enough paper and plastic plates and cutlery each year to span the equator 300 times. Americans also use about 102 billion plastic bags each year, all of which ending up in landfills, costing millions of dollars and leaving all that non-biodegradable waste to contaminate the soil and water.
Clean Air Council reports

Local solution: Since Macalester currently generates about 227 tons of solid waste every year, we have implemented the Zero Waste by 2020 initiative to do our part in cutting down. Eco Clamshells (reusable take-out containers) are available from the Grille, and compostable dishware is used at campus picnics. Mac Free Swap allows students to donate unwanted items and pick up useful ones instead of throwing them out and buying new.

How we’re doing: Along with single-sort recycling, Mac’s composting program is in full swing with its expansion to more locations around campus. Additionally, Macalester’s class of 2013 was the first to wear rental graduation gowns during the commencement ceremony so everything could be returned and reused.