Waste Stream

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LandfillThe Goal: To become a minimum-waste University.

The Problem: During the past four decades, the U.S. has witnessed an extraordinary growth in its waste stream. In 1960, we produced 88 million tons of waste (or 2.68 pounds per person per day). In 2005, we produced 245.7 million tons (4.5 pounds per person per day). 1

Building, operating, and maintaining waste disposal infrastructure costs billions of dollars.

Opportunities for St. Lawrence University:

From 2001 to 2005, SLU recycled approximately 21 to 26% of its total waste stream, saving disposal costs of about $28,000 annually (Recycling Data - access restricted to on campus). Had this recyclable material been disposed of as trash, it would have required an additional 1600 cubic yards of landfill space, roughly equivalent to our football field covered with a one foot layer of trash.

  • Source Reduction: in 2008 we need to conduct a life cycle impact assessment on the materials the University purchases, with the goal of reducing the overall impact.
  • We should aim to reduce the volume of packaging and other waste materials introduced into the University's waste stream.
  • By 2009 we should initiate swipe card-activated printing services for students allowing a certain number of free copies per semester.
  • While the SLU recycling program is generally effective, significant improvements can be achieved by increasing the level of participation by the members of the SLU community. By 2008 the recommendations from the Conservation Council's 2006 report should be put in place.
  • University Communications and Residential Learning Communities should develop a comprehensive set of SLU-specific educational materials (posters, brochures) to better inform faculty, students and staff of the proper procedures for contributing material to the recycling program
  • We need to increase the level of recycling education for incoming students and raise the profile of the program for current students. (The SLU Green Guide has had success in this regard)
  • We should implement a training program for residence hall staff regarding policies and procedures pertaining to the recycling program.
  • We should use only "disposable ware" (i.e. plates, cups,cutlery) with recycled content and made of biodegrable materials for use at the Northstar Pub and Time Out Cafe and also for University events that are catered.
  • By 2008 we should develop a composting protocol and facility so that food and grounds "waste" can be turned into assets. (There are currently three small compost bins which are used mainly by members of the Theme Cottages and the Senior Townhouses)