on the Right Track in Reducing Waste
hundred eighty-two tons.
how much Smith has reduced its output of trash per year
over the past five years, thanks to multiple efforts to
compost left over food, increase recycling and reduce waste.
Between 2005 and 2010
Smith reduced the waste by 30 percent. (Click image
Emma Wade ’13,
a member of the college's Green Team, created a mobile
of trash objects, to be displayed near recycling
containers on campus.
another way, people at Smith create about one pound less
of trash every minute of every day all year long, explains
Roger Guzowski, Five College recycling manager. That’s
a 30 percent reduction in annual trash generation in 2010
compared with 2005.
effort that can make a positive impact on Smith’s
trash reduction is the college’s participation in ,
the annual college competition, in which more than 600 schools
nationwide measure their recycling numbers. Smith has participated
in the friendly competition in recent years.
college began last month tracking its recycling bulk and
will continue for eight weeks, through the end of March.
Smith currently ranks third among all competitors in the
Targeted Material category, which measures the amount of
corrugated cardboard recycled.
“We hope that participating
in RecycleMania, as well as educational efforts by Green
Team members and Sustainability Reps in houses, will encourage
members of the Smith community to make an extra effort to
recycle,” said Deirdre Manning,
director of environmental sustainability. “Knowing what
to recycle can be confusing as the rules are different in
different areas of the country or even within a particular
To help propel Smith
to the top of the Recyclemania list, deposit as many recyclable
materials as possible in bins throughout campus. ().
Members of the Smith
Green Team and Sustainability Reps have created artful mobiles
of recyclable items that will be displayed over recycling
bins in several campus locations, such as house lobbies,
to help remind people on campus of the need to recycle.
Smith has done well
in reducing its trash output over the past five years. The
composting program in Smith dining rooms continues to grow.
A culture of recycling and the importance of reusing items
when possible has largely taken hold.
However, Manning reminds,
there is still a way to go to reach target objectives. Recyclable
items such as milk cartons and juice boxes are too often
discarded in trash bins, and items like plastic water bottles
are too frequently used.
Clarke ’11 and
Elena Ortiz ’11, who are co-organizing Smith’s participation
in RecycleMania, would like to see that 30 percent waste
reduction become 50 percent, they said. To reach that goal,
they urge people on campus to:
items, such as water bottles, whenever possible
all recyclable items in the appropriate bins
- put batteries
and CFL bulbs in the Campus Center recycling station
- compost food
waste whenever possible.
2010, students, employees and visitors at Smith produced
671 tons of trash. That translates to more than 260 pounds
of trash produced per person on average for the year. It’s
a considerable reduction, and one to be proud of, while remaining
aware that it’s only
a step forward along an ongoing path.