Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

SPU’s Sustainable Graduation Wear

tiffany-loopAs a soon to be SPU graduate (provided I don’t screw anything up), I recently went about ordering a cap and gown through SPU’s regalia connection, and was surprised to learn that SPU 2014 graduation gear is made up of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Clothing manufactured from bottles? It’s true; an average of 23 plastic bottles were used in the making of each cap and gown this year. The material is made out of fabric spun from molten plastic pellets. With less than 30% of all plastic bottles being recycled, and plastic building up in landfills to an alarming degree, wearing bottles seems like a pretty cool way to launch into the post-graduate world. And symbolically, how perfect is this for a graduation outfit? Renewal, renewal, renewal.

More Recycling Tips

recyclops-06A few days ago I discussed the perks of creating a waste center where you can easily give yourself the options of trash, recycle, and compost. Today I stumbled upon some info that shows how recycling isn’t always as simple as it seems. It can be more complex, or even simpler, than you think. Continue reading

Greening Your Kitchen

kitchOn average, the kitchen is the most wasteful room in the home. Besides the amount of food that gets discarded, there’s the packaging that accompanies food as well as the paper we throw out as a result of paper towels and napkins. Luckily making the transition to a greener kitchen is a relatively painless one that can take form in a few simple steps. Keep reading if you’re looking to move in such a direction. Continue reading

Aimee Bender and Renewal

color masterFor those who aren’t familiar with the work of Aimee Bender, her writing includes several books of short stories and two novels, and can be generalized as a blending of the magical and surreal with the everyday. Through unique means, Bender renders characters and emotions with honesty and insight, often cutting to the heart of the human condition with a deceptively simple touch. I’ve been going through her latest book of short stories, The Color Master, and was struck by the way she used the thread of sustainability in a story called Bad Return. Continue reading

How Much Plastic Is In Your Life?


How many plastic items can you reach out and touch right now? One certain item would be the screen you are reading this on. For me, I can also count my keyboard, my phone, my reusable coffee cup, my tape dispenser, and my belt. The more I look around, the more plastic I embedded into my daily life.

Continuing the dialogue following the plastic bag ban in Seattle, the Burke Museum takes a closer look at our relationship with plastic in its ongoing exhibit “Plastics Unwrapped.” Located on the University of Washington campus, this exhibit explores plastic’s interactions – both positive and negative – with human life, and how plastic technology is changing global culture.
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What Are We Throwing Away?

2011 waste audit graphic summaryOver the past few weeks, the sustainability staff has carried out a waste audit to determine how much of the waste from campus apartments could in the future be diverted away from landfills. While rifling through garbage wasn’t exactly pleasant, the results found were pretty staggering: over the course of the audit, a full 80% of waste from campus apartments was material that could either be recycled or composted. That means only 20% of the garbage was actually waste!

The data from the audit will be used to better inform SPU’s waste policies and encourage the promotion of composting options in campus apartments. The University is planning on establishing a composting program for campus apartments in the fall.

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Graduation Attire Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

ivy-cuttingFor the 2011 graduating class, commencement is beginning to appear on the horizon. With just a quarter and a half to go, it is almost time to start preparing for the big event. Amidst all of the anticipation surrounding this milestone, here’s some news that will make you even more excited about graduating: participating in this year’s commencement will help save the planet.

That’s right – all caps and gowns worn by this year’s graduating class will be made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles. An average of twenty-three plastic bottles will go into the making of each cap and gown.

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