Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

Here are a few selections of the innovative approaches to sustainability taking place on other college campuses. Each of these examples was chosen because they represent ideas that UCSC could potentially implement in some form, or in some cases, already has begun to. If you see something here that you want to make a reality at UCSC, contact the Sustainability Office and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

Trash Goalie
Davidson College has launched The Next Play, an initiative that uses the influence of sports to advance Zero Waste sustainability-related goals. The primary responsibility of trash goalies is to help people sort waste properly. Even though recycling and composting are becoming more commonplace, the challenge now is encouraging people to consciously think about sorting trash in places where throwing it away has always been a very passive experience. Athletic events create a great stage as method for advancing sustainability-related goals, and spreading awareness plays a key role in promoting the zero-waste effort. Our campus has a Zero Waste Goal as well. We could use some "trash goalie" volunteers at sporting events here too.

Waste Watchers Make Trash Monster and Inspire a Recyclemania Competition

Attempting to raise awareness of how much is thrown away, a campus recycling group at Oregon State University collected and sorted residence hall waste to create a monster, and labeled the visual display with how much waste an average person produces over a certain amount of time. 'Slightly more than a dozen volunteers shed their squeamishness and donned plastic gloves to dig through bags of trash pulled from residence halls on campus.' The team rifled through each trash bag, pulling out recyclable items and replacing non-recyclable (trash) items back into clear plastic bags. They forged a trash monster to be on display during their annual RecycleMania competition.
The competition included several universities. The winner was based on which school collected the most pounds of recycling and compost per person. We could set up a competition here between the colleges to win an actual trophy made of all scrap materials; painted gold.

Campus Recycling Program Converts Grease to Biofuel
A recent partnership between University Housing and the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling resulted in Cease the Grease, an effort to collect used cooking oil from two residential areas, which would then be converted into biodiesel fuel.
After cooking, residents can cooled their kitchen grease, poured it into the container and emptied the grease into a collection bin. The grease was be picked up by a plant specialized in converting grease and oil into useful biofuel. In addition to creating renewable fuel, Cease the Grease will help prevent clogged drains, pests and odors in campus apartments.

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