Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided … Read more

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided to make a difference in a new way: by empowering a community of like-minded Waste Watchers — the conservers, the repurposers, the mindful and the resourceful — to ignite a cultural change that can help reduce waste.

The organization developed its own creative ways of reducing waste in our everyday lives, and arranged them in seven different categories. Start getting wasted – check out its list of tips.

Leaving and Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

Leaving and Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

The Conference This past weekend several other sustainability student leaders and I were fortunate enough to present at the Student Leadership Conference, highlighting the importance of getting involved with sustainability on campus. The idea was to give all this valuable information, many of the concepts being ‘behind the scenes’ that students aren’t aware about (ie: … Read more

The Conference

This past weekend several other sustainability student leaders and I were fortunate enough to present at the Student Leadership Conference, highlighting the importance of getting involved with sustainability on campus. The idea was to give all this valuable information, many of the concepts being ‘behind the scenes’ that students aren’t aware about (ie: our greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal heating units, solar arrays), to the student leaders in hope of promoting more initiatives with student groups on campus.

Sustainability at Mount Union Video! Watch here: Work that Lasts: Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

View/Download the presentation in full by clicking HERE!

What We’ve Done

“Assist in the decision making process of socially, financially and environmentally sound opportunities in order to create a sustainable, efficient and healthy atmosphere for students, faculty and staff.” Here are just a few things that our group has most recently achieved…

  • Attended the AASHE 2011 Conference in Pittsburgh, where we met Bill McKibben, founder of aspiring non-profit 350.org.
  • Developed the Eco-Rep manual and program that offers paid positions to student Eco-Reps in almost all residence halls.
  • Coordinated Mount Union’s first ever Game Day Challenge diverting 48% of waste from landfill at a home football game.
  • And much, much more!

Becoming a Signatory Instiution

President Giese committed Mount Union to sustainability by signing the President’s Climate Commitment in 2007.

We are committed to Carbon Neutrality by 2046, including both the operations of our campus and our curriculum.

We submitted a Climate Action Plan as part of Campus Sustainability Plan in May of 2010.

Carbon Reduction Goals relative to 2008

  • 25% by 2015 (3.9% by 2010)
  • 50% by 2025
  • 80% by 2035
  • Neutrality by 2046

How’s our Campus Looking?

RecycleMania Has Begun!

RecycleMania Has Begun!

The past several years Mount Union has participated in a month-long, nationwide recycling competition called RecycleMania. The competition started on February 4 and runs through March 30, with the involvement of 523 schools, more than 4.4 million students and nearly 1 million faculty and staff participating in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. During this … Read more

The past several years Mount Union has participated in a month-long, nationwide recycling competition called RecycleMania. The competition started on February 4 and runs through March 30, with the involvement of 523 schools, more than 4.4 million students and nearly 1 million faculty and staff participating in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

During this whole month, all the competing schools will recycling and compost roughly 94.4 million pounds and have Greenhouse Gas Reduction of 148,897 (MTCO2E). Last year Mount Union finished 206 place while achieving a recycling rate of 20.18%. You can download the full 2012 Competition Final Results here. We want your help to help improve this rate and climb to the leader board! Please help remember to recycle at all possible times and spread the word.

Download a Mount Union RecycleMania flyer to help promote the competition!

National recognition is provided to the winning school in each category on the RecycleMania website and in a national press release. Winning schools receive an award made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year. Here are some overall goals of the competition:

  1. Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
  2. Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
  3. Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
  4. Have a fair and friendly competition.

Schools compete in 11 categories to see which can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles and food waste on a per capita basis; which can produce the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. In one of two new categories – Game Day: Basketball – schools are challenged to increase their recycling and reduce waste generation at a single home basketball game. A second new category targeting film plastics will call attention to the recyclability of items such as dry cleaning bags, shrink wrap and shopping bags. Mount Union just competes in the general categories.

Happy recycling, and follow our Facebook page!

A Conscious Holiday Season – 5 Tips for Being a Sensible Gifter

A Conscious Holiday Season – 5 Tips for Being a Sensible Gifter

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Thanksgiving time has surpassed and some might say it’s now time to spread Christmas cheer, singing loud for all to hear. My final few weeks of the semester are definitely going to be daunted and seem endless, but the reward of going home over winter break will be second to none. The reason I anticipate Christmas break so much is because it is really the only time of year I get to go home and spend a generous amount of time with my family! Also, not to mention I leave for Spain in just about a month!

Come this holiday season, I am sure there are going to be tremendous acts of kindness and irreplaceable gifts. One thing to keep in mind is to be extra kind to our planet, and be sure to shop with a conscious. I recently read an article on Grist, and it said that, “in general, we need to be sensible gifters, steering clear of buying unnecessary, useless stuff. Give experiences, not things. Or give wanted things. Or make things for people, if they’re open to it.” I think that it is very important to keep these points in mind, and have the needs champion the gifts you want. To help, I listed some tips for helping to be more conscious this Holiday season.

Do More with Less
Instead of buying a brand new article of clothing, buy a used one that is in just as good condition. The company Patagonia is actually encouraging its customers to stop buying their products, part of its Common Threads Initiative. The company believes that reducing, repairing, reusing and recycling its clothes can help contribute to a better environment, thus lowering its carbon footprint. This is a part of an initiative where that together we can reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace. Part of this program was for Patagonia to open up its own Ebay store, where Patagonia wearers can find used clothing for reuse.

Shop Online
Online shopping is generally a greener way to shop because trucks can deliver goods efficiently, and it takes less energy to run a warehouse for goods than a whole mall!

Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
Most wrapping paper you find in stores is not recyclable and ends up in landfills. This is an opportunity to get creative, use old magazines, newspapers, comics or old posters to wrap gifts! According to the Sierra Club, if every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

Give a Gift that Tells a Story
The Sierra Club allows you to “sponsor a wild place” and share the country’s most special wild places and national parks with friends and loved ones. Sponsorships start at $20 and come with a range of special gifts, like a photo, plush animal, certificate of sponsorship or a backpack. Also, you could give the gift of an annual pass to a National Park, a place where you can appreciate the outdoors.

Use Holiday LED’s
Instead of using ordinary Christmas lights, purchase some LED lights that use 90% less energy than conventional holiday lights. This could save you up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season as well … just saying.

I hope these tips help for this coming holiday season. One of Raider Relief’s past projects was H20 where we raised money during the holiday season to build wells supporting clean drinking water. Americans spends 450 billion dollars on holiday gifts each year, and it would only take 10 billion dollars of that money to solve the world’s water problems. When you think about it, there are many little gifts that are used just as stocking stuffers. I challenge you this Christmas to think about only a few gifts of what you really need, not just desperately want. Also, try to focus on some of the tips I listed, it might make a gift you give have a more personal touch, feel more intimate and make a positive impact on the world. Everyone loves a homemade gift or one that tells a story anyways!