A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
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The Zero Waste Committee sponsors a variety of sustainable programs in collaboration with departments across campus in hopes of reducing waste at Macalester. These initiatives offer simple and accessible ways for students, staff and faculty to participate in the movement towards zero waste and to begin thinking about how to reduce our individual waste footprints.
On Campus Initiatives
Reuse and Exchange:
- Mac Free Swap - Mac Free Swap is a trading program launched in 2009 that allows Macalester community members to exchange unwanted items for reuse. Through the online version of the Free Swap, accessible through a link on the college’s community network, 1600 Grand, under the “Campus Resources” tab, people can post items they’d like to get rid of or request things that they are looking for. Items can also be brought to the Free Swap site in the Sustainability Office on the first floor of Kagin.
- Free & For Sale - This open group is the Facebook version of the Mac Free Swap. Post things you’d like to buy, sell, trade for or get rid of for free.
Sustainable Options at The Grille:
- EcoClamshell Take Out Containers - Students and faculty can check out these containers for free when they order a menu item from the Grille.
- Reuseable Dishes - Bon Appétit offers regular dishes on request for if people are staying to eat at the Grille. Bon Appetit mugs can be bought for $5 and can be brought back all day for $1 refills.
- In addition, keep in mind that all of the packaging used at the Grille - except for the bags in which candy is sold - is compostable, including utensils, waxed paper and even the plastic silverware!
These recycled notebooks, made from one-sided paper, can be purchased for $1 each at the Library.
Move out is an important time for waste reduction, as this is when a large amount of items are disposed of. In the final weeks of the school year there are many unique opportunities to reduce waste, as well as some changes to standard waste collection.
- Habitat for Humanity Donations - During spring move out Habitat for Humanity and Alternative Spring Break will be collecting donations. These items will be sold at the fall garage sale, and proceeds will be used to fund these important causes. Collections boxes will be located in the front lobbies or main lounges of dorms from May 5th to May 15.
- Cafe Mac Amnesty Boxes - Have you borrowed any items (utensils, dishes, etc.) from Cafe Mac this year? Rather than destroying the evidence, you can drop these items off in one of the Amnesty Boxes, located in the front lobbies or main lounges of dorm buildings. These will be available from May 5 to May 15.
- Free Boxes for Reuse - Boxes will be available for reuse during move out. These boxes can be found in the basement of the campus center before move out.
- E-Waste Pickup - We encourage you to donate any working electronics to the Habitat for Humanity drive. Non-working electronics that you need to dispose of can be brought to the E-Waste pickup.
- Bin Removal/Recycling and Trash Dumpsters Available - Bins are removed from the dorms around move out time. You are expected to bring your recycling and trash to the dumpsters on Macalester Street (west of Wallace/30Mac/Bigelow). Dumpsters will be designated for paper, bottles and cans, or trash and will follow the same recycling rules as Bin Recycling.
This combination of services was developed through a collaborative program set up by the Zero Waste Committee in response to the traditionally overwhelming amount of waste generated when students move out of the dormitories. The goal was to divert waste through capturing 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). In 2011, the college partnered with the Network for Better Futures to sort material, reuse and recycle student discards.
Macalester's official recycling program was started on Earth Day 1970 by a group of students. Since that time, our program has evolved to accommodate the changing needs of the Macalester Community. This recycling guide provides information about our primary recycling program as well as other recycling and waste reduction opportunities on and around campus. If you have any questions, please contact our recycling coordinator, Kyle D. Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bin Recycling on Campus - Macalester Waste collection currently utilizes a mixed recycling program. The following items are all acceptable for the mixed recycling bin:
- Paper and cardboard
- Cans - aluminum and tin
- Glass bottles and jars
- Plastic-#1-7 (Look for these numbers on the bottom of plastic items)
Waste items, that cannot be recycled, include but are not limited to:
- Window and mirror glass
- Paper with food or grease on it (this can be composted - see below)
Recycling Oddities - There are a variety of non-reusable items that cannot be placed in the Macalester Recycling bins, but which can be left on the shelves in the SPO room in the basement of the Campus Center.
Small and Medium Electronics used on campus, such as radios and computer components, can be brought to the E-Waste Recycling bin located in the Sustainability Office, on the first floor of Kagin Commons.
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) are a difficult item to dispose of properly. However, due to the chemicals they contain, it is important to make sure your used up bulbs are taken care of safely. A drop box for CFLS is located in the Sustainability Office. If a CFL breaks on campus, please contacts Facilities Services ASAP.
Inkjet Printer Cartridges are collected by Ann Esson in the Environmental Studies Department Office, Olin-Rice 249, or you can place them in inkjet printer cartridges recycling bins located in the mailbox area of the Campus Center.
Got Something Else?
- If you are looking to recycle, reuse, or properly dispose of an item and can't find a way to do it on this page, try Eureka's A-Z Recycling and Safe Disposal Guide or the Ramsey County A-Z Disposal.
Macalester started collecting compostable materials in January 2013. A list of things that can and cannot be composted, composting locations and more is available on the compost page.
Tips for Reducing Waste
- Try to avoid using plastic bags, styrofoam takeout containers and bottled water. Instead, carry around your own cloth bag, aluminum water bottle, Thermos and portable silverware! You can even take Tupperware for leftovers when you go out to dinner.
- Pay attention to plastic and packaging, what you buy and what you throw away.
- Think about using a handkerchief instead of Kleenex.
- Collect plastic silverware, cups and plates from parties. They’re easy to wash and reuse, and you will never be at a loss for utensils.
- Use an air dryer or dry your hands on your pants and you will save paper towels and trees!
- If you get tired of your clothes, switch with friends! Or start a swap box on your dorm floor – all you need are a sign and a box.
- Consider your printing: print double-sided and with multiple pages per sheet.
- Be conscious of the food you eat and dispose of.
- Challenge yourself to take short showers and use less water in general.
- Consider buying replaceable batteries and a charger for your electronics.
- Wash with bar soap instead of liquid and shave with an electric razor or one with replaceable blades.
- Buy used, local and fair trade. Here is a list of local thrift stores and what each one is best for.
In your home:
- Buy food in bulk! Grains, cereals, beans and legumes, dried fruit, nuts, spices, oil, honey...so many things are cheaper and more sustainable when purchased in large quantities with reusable containers.
- Take yourself off unnecessary mailing lists at: www.dmachoice.org.
- Donate or recycle household items and building materials you don’t need. Consider using the Macalester FreeSwap, conveniently located in the Sustainability Office on the first floor of Kagin, with an online version on 1600grand.
- Use cloth napkins and reusable hand towels, cleaning rags and sponges.
- Hold onto jars, tubs, plastic bags and other containers - you’d be surprised how often these can be put to use!
- Consider composting, with or without worms. Check out the helpful information at HowToCompost.org to get started.
- Be conscious of your use of paint, pesticides and toxic cleaners. Information on common toxins to avoid, as well as alternative products, can be found online with a simple google search. One great organization with lots of info is the Environmental Working Group.
In the office:
- Proofread documents before printing, make fewer copies, and set printers and photocopiers to print double-sided by default. Check out the paper saving tips from ITS.
- Take advantage of computer files and online documents to share information without relying on paper copies.
- Reuse envelopes and packing materials whenever possible.
- Collect one-sided paper and contribute it to be made into Onesie notebooks by student workers in the library. Or, staple it together to make office scratch pads.
- Bring your own mug for daily tea or coffee, and think about packing your own lunch and snacks with reusable containers and individual silverware to cut down on packaging from buying takeout.
- If possible, buy recycled toner cartridges and send off your old ones for reuse.
- Buy office supplies in bulk, get less packaged versions when possible, and generally be conscious about purchases.
- Use nontoxic cleaners and washable rags for clean-up. For simple and effective homemade cleaners, as well as lists of the best (and worst) commercial options, search online. A couple of good sites are Eartheasy.com and Care2.com.
- Set up a “swap” area in your office for trading unwanted office supplies, home products and anything else. You can also take advantage of the Macalester FreeSwap located in the Sustainability Office, on the first floor of Kagin, as well as its online version on 1600grand.