Macalester has a plastic water bottle ban

Purchasing at Macalester

  • As an institution with a lot of buying power, Macalester has committed itself to using purchasing as an avenue to prioritizing sustainability.  Purchasing at Macalester is decentralized – different departments make their own independent purchasing decisions.
  • The Macalester Purchasing Office supports departments by providing them with the necessary information to make better purchasing choices through education about the importance of ethical purchasing and negotiating more sustainable procurement options.
  • The Purchasing Office, in conjunction with the MN Pollution Control Agency, has also worked on the creation of an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy Guidelines (EP3). This document guides the decentralized purchasing system at Macalester and ensures that Macalester’s purchases are socially, environmentally, and economically responsible.

Macalester Athletics

Macalester Athletics purchases sweatshop-free and environmentally and socially responsible apparel for teams.

Aus Pens

Particular spaces and departments have adopted refillable dry-erase markers such — an example of which are AusPens, made by a company founded upon values of sustainability.  Traditional dry-erase markers are full of chemicals and are 100% MSW.  Order AusPens for free from the Sustainability Office using the AusPen Order Form.

Bon Appétit

  • Macalester contracts with Bon Appétit, a nation-wide food service company, to operate food service facilities on campus. All Bon Appetit retail locations on campus feature compostable wares.
  • More information on Bon Appétit’s sustainable practices can be found on our Bon Appétit page and Bon Appétit’s website.

Bottled Water Ban

  • In 2011 Macalester instituted a ban on selling bottled water in vending machines, retail locations, and at athletic events.
  • In conjunction with the ban, automatic bottle filling stations have been installed throughout campus using funds from the Sustainability TEM budget.
  • This effort eliminates the sourcing of bottled water, prevents the used bottles from needing to be recycled, and keeps water local to its source.
  • Free water bottles can be found at the Mac Free Swap, a free exchange program located at the Sustainability Office, 1657 Lincoln. Students and staff alike can both drop off unwanted materials and pick up items left there by other students or staff. More information on the Bottled Water Ban in the following:
  • Bottled Water Campaign at Macalester College: A Case Study, Clare Pillsbury, ’12 

Central Stores and Document Services

Since 2010, Macalester College Document Services and Central Stores purchases only 100% Recycled Paper. This switch should save an estimated 655 trees and 299,793 gallons of water annually.

Facilities Services Custodial

Facilities Services transitioned all custodial supplies to only those that are Green Seal Certified. This includes the non-toxic, chlorine-free chemicals as well as responsibly sourced paper products. The transition saves Macalester about $26,000 a year.

Highlander – The Shop at Macalester

Highlander – The Shop at Macalester, run by Follett, features sweatshop-free and environmentally and socially responsible apparel, school supplies from recycled content, cap and gown recycling, textbook rental and donation. Follett also employs an independent third party business to double check that all of their clothing is sourced responsibly.

Macalester College Student Government (MCSG)

At the beginning of Spring Semester 2015, MCSG removed the means by which student organizations could purchase non-compostable wares and made ordering compostable ones free to them and easier than ever before.

Paper Use

The Sustainability Office, in collaboration with MCSG, the library, Student Affairs, and ITS, is implementing a program to help balance the competing interests of paper use and sustainability. See the 500 Sheets Balance Program’s FAQ list for more information.

Worker’s Rights Consortium Standards

In 2001, Student Affairs encouraged Macalester to join the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent organization that monitors the labor practices of factories that produce apparel. In 2008-09, we created a Designated Suppliers Program in order to better source where our purchases came from and to make decisions that supported clothing factories that provide their employees with a fair wage and safe working conditions. In 2014, President Brian Rosenberg signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in response to the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013. This accord supports work towards a safe and healthy garment and textile industry in Bangladesh. With all of these commitments, each year we send our labor Code of Conduct laws to all of our suppliers to ensure that they adhere to our all of our labor standards.

These measures help to accomplish two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth (allows people to build wealth and assets to make more sustainable decisions in addition to stimulating the economy so the government can invest in better infrastructure), and Responsible Consumption and Production (purchasing and producing energy efficient products and infrastructure that reduce resource use, degradation, and pollution while also ensuring that the producer is being treated fairly).