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Sustainability at Wake Forest

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Think Green Thursdays engage community

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to explore sustainability through interactive, educational, and fun Think Green Thursday events every Thursday when regular classes are in session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Magnolia Patio of Reynolda Hall.

In the second year of the Think Green Thursday program, each month of events will be themed around a central issue, from waste reduction to event planning to fair trade. Participants are eligible to earn great rewards that will help support sustainable lifestyle choices. The theme for September is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – so be on the lookout for activities to help support your waste reduction efforts this month.

There will be something for everyone this year. While some events will be targeted toward students (like distribution of personal recycling totes), others are designed to provide knowledge and tools to empower faculty and staff. Many weeks’ activities will interface with Green Team Network efforts.

Look forward to these upcoming events:

  • September 15 – Choose to Reuse: Stop by to learn about the impacts of drinking single-serve bottled water and for a chance to earn your Choose to Reuse water bottle and campaign sticker. Once you have your bottle, be sure to check out the new bottle refilling station, located outside the Office of Sustainability. This pilot station provides filtered, chilled water with hands-free convenience. Let us know what you think.
  • September 22 – Conscious Consumer: Less is more. Think critically about your consumer choices with our Mystery X Conscious Consumer game. Participants will be entered in a raffle to win a fabulous prize.
  • September 29 – Upcycling: Join us for this fun craft-themed event. Learn how to make reusable shopping bags out of plastic grocery bags or t-shirts and enter a raffle to win a prize created from everyday items.

See you there!

A Sorted Affair

Monday, March 14th, 2011

PSA Video for the Wake Forest Office of Sustainability advocating the proper sorting of recyclables from waste. Produced by students of the Wake Forest Documentary Film Program.

University to defend ACC championship for waste reduction

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Students, faculty and staff are back at it, defending the university’s ACC title this year. No, you didn’t miss any football or basketball championships — we’re talking about trash. Last year the Demon Deacons claimed the ACC title for greatest waste reduction per capita during RecycleMania 2010. And this year, we’re back to defend that title and perhaps secure a new one.

RecycleMania is nationwide recycling competition that pits 630 colleges and universities against one another to promote waste reduction and recycling on campus. Schools  compete in a variety of areas, including waste minimization, overall weight of recyclables, and diversion rates of targeted materials for recycling.

The university’s participation in this year’s RecycleMania tournament coincides with the launch of the “Choose to Reuse” campaign, which promotes the switch to reusable water bottles from disposable single-use bottles.

Thirty percent of Wake Forest students report consuming an average of 5 disposable bottles of water per week. This equates to over 6000 bottles of water being consumed weekly by students on the Reynolda campus alone. By these calculations, simply making the switch to reusable bottles, will cut 4800 bottles out of the the university’s waste stream each week – and this is just water bottle waste from students. Imagine all of the landfill waste we could reduce by switching to durable, re-usable options in all areas of campus life.

RecycleMania fans are encouraged to track collective waste reduction and recycling efforts online. Results are available each Friday on the Recyclemania web site throughout the competition, which runs until April 2. Students can also keep informed on the university’s progress by coming to Think Green Thursdays throughout the semester.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern

The Four ‘R’s of Waste Reduction

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

When trying to reduce your personal waste, consider the following:

Reduce: Make decisions that reduce the amount of waste that you generate.

What services do you need from the things in your life? Could you get the services you need without purchasing new products? In those cases when you need new products, can you purchase in bulk or make selections with reduced or recyclable packaging?

Re-Use: Purchase gently-used products and/or durable products that can be re-used.

Can you get the service that you need, or provide someone else with the service that they need, by re-using a product or sharing that product with someone else? Disposable products provide convenience and can also generate a great deal of waste.

Recycle: Sort your waste according to the “What To Recycle at Wake Forest” guide.

When you need to consume something new, can you choose an option that is recyclable and/or comes in recyclable packaging? Can it be recycled into the same thing again? Or, can it be down-cycled – taken apart so that its components can either be re-purposed or recycled? Recycling takes time, person power, and energy. We should consider it as an option after reducing and re-using.

For details on what can be recycled at Wake Forest, download this guide.

Re-Buy: Purchase products with recycled content.

Can you find product options with recycled content? The determination of what can be recycled is based on technology and markets. An aluminum can will be recycled into another aluminum can over and over. There are well established markets for aluminum and the process saves both raw materials and energy. A plastic bottle, however, is not recycled into another plastic bottle – it is shredded and re-purposed into other products like carpet, polar fleece, and plastic lumber. The composition of various plastics determines what types of products they can be made into. Plastics are collected and sold on the open market to processors who make products with recycled content.