sustainablespu

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


Mottainai: Waste Nothing, Respect All


Have you ever thought about how much waste you generate on a daily basis? If you’ve spent any time in Japan, you may be more aware of your waste habits. Last December, my sister visited the country and got first-hand experience of this. She was struck by Japan’s lack of public trashcans and surprisingly litter-free streets. Some municipalities have over 44 different garbage categories and people often carry around their trash all day to dispose of it properly at home.

Waste is a serious matter in Japan, guided for centuries by the cultural concept of Mottainai

having respect for the resources around you, to not waste these resources and to use them with a sense of gratitude.”

This way of life and disposal makes sense for an island country with limited landfill space. It’s encouraging that affluent, consumer-based countries have created such dynamic cultural waste norms, especially in light of America’s throw-away habits. For food waste alone, it’s estimated that the U.S. tosses 30-40% of its food produced annually, costing about $165 billion and producing almost 34 million tons of waste. Considering that every ton of food wasted creates 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the scope of this issue is staggering. What’s more, globally about $1 trillion or one-third of all food produced goes uneaten.

Due to these realities, we conduct an audit to track SPU’s waste contribution. This year with the implementation of a campus-wide compost program, it was a lengthier collection and recording process. Over the course of May, we analyzed about 820 cubic yards or 310,535 lbs. of waste: 26% garbage, 61% recyclables, and 13% compostables.  Continue reading

Advertisements


2 Comments

Summer start up!


As the summer weeks are now in full swing, and the first official day of summer is coming up our campus is implementing compost! We’ll start placing bins in office buildings, with the residence halls to follow. The bin in our office This is the bin in our Facilities office that is right at home next to our recycling.

Our warehouse is filled with bins eagerly awaiting deployment, but in need of compostable bags to go with. Some bins will go out today, and others around campus have been re-labeled for composting capacity, in common spaces like the lobby of Demaray Hall and near Common Grounds in Weter.
Lg Compost BinsThese bins are part of the campus implementation of the city ordinance that started January 1st of this year that prohibits compostable or recyclable items from being disposed of as garbage. In addition to the many small bins on campus inside the buildings being added, there are 8 new pick up locations for all of our food waste to go.

Other bins have been ordered to increase recycling on campus and will be added to our indoor recycling program.Recycling & Counter top bins

Continue reading


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.

Continue reading


A Plastic Ocean


trash-vortexPlastic.  It seems like just about everything we use is made of some type of plastic.  230 million tons of plastic are consumed worldwide every year.  Unfortunately, more than 90% of plastics are not recycled.  And since plastic does not biodegrade, the waste sticks around for hundreds, even thousands, of years.  This has resulted in a major ecological problem in the world’s oceans.  Pollution, along with other human action like overfishing, has put the world’s oceans in serious trouble.