Zero Waste

get involved earth week

Saint Michael’s is proud of our commitment to solid waste reduction on our campus. The Sustainability Committee, Eco-Reps and Green Up provide leadership in promoting the efficient management of waste, including recyclables, trash and compost. In 2012, the Vermont Legislature unanimously passed Act 148, a universal recycling and composting law that offers Vermonters a new set of systems and tools for keeping as much as possible out of the landfill. The law is an update to the mandatory recycling law and now includes banning organics (yard/leaf debris and food scraps) from the landfill as well as specific container requirements for publicly accessible areas.  

What does this mean for campus and everyone on it? It’s the LAW to properly sort and dispose of the materials we use on campus. This means ALL recyclables must be recycled, ALL food scraps & other organics must be composted, and the remaining “trash” must be sent to the landfill. Luckily, we make it super easy for everyone on campus to do just this! Here’s how it works on campus.

Recycling:

  • Every building, every floor, every office space, every classroom, every residential room and apartment has a blue bin for recycling 
  • Students living in the Residence Halls empty their recycling into the recycling containers located on each floor in the Trash/Recycling room.
  • Students living in the townhouses/apartments are responsible for bringing all recycling out to the nearest recycling dumpster by their living area (recycling dumpsters are clearly labeled and conveniently located next to the trash dumpster).  What is recyclable on campus? Download this handy guide to find out!
  • Electronics fall under the mandatory recycling law and are banned from the landfill. Employees (with college-owned electronics) should submit a work order through the Facilities work order system for staff to pick-up any electronics that need to be recycled. The college works with Good Point recycling to ensure these items are responsibility and ethically disposed of.

Composting:

  • Since 2007, the college has been composting all of its pre- and post-consumer food scraps from the dining hall in Alliot. With Act 148, now the rest of campus gets to join in on the fun! Just as recycling is easy on campus, it’s easy to discard your food scraps so we can turn them into compost to be used on the campus landscape!
  • Every building on campus has a food scrap container (generally, this is located on the first floor of every building). For the Residence Halls, every floor in each building has a green food scrap container located in the Trash/Recycling room. For all students living in the apartments/townhouses, there is a small green food scrap container in the kitchen that is clearly labeled with what we do and don’t accept in the college compost.  Students in the apartments/townhouses are responsible for emptying the container into a green compost toter located next to every trash/recycling dumpster near the living area. To keep with the spirit of reducing waste, please take good care of your bin so that future students can use it.

Year End Move-Out: Ditch the Dumpster

In 2015, we instituted the annual Ditch the Dumpster campaign, which is an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated by students during move-out and to “re-home” items in good condition with local non-profits and other organizations. During Finals Week, student volunteers help staff a centrally located collection site.

In 2016, the Mobilization of Volunteers Efforts (MOVE) office contributed to expanding the campaign’s impact on and off campus. With MOVE’s help, the campaign was able to increase the list of acceptable items (and organizations whom benefited from the campaign) to include clothing and non-perishable food items. Since its inception, the Ditch the Dumpster campaign has not only successfully diverted thousands of pounds annually from the waste stream, but it has also raised awareness about the importance of donating items to those in need rather than carelessly tossing them away.

Orientation and Move-In Day

The Eco-Reps and members of Green-Up will be available during New Student Orientation in August and on Move-In Day, to educate and promote sustainability and recycling – to provide information about where to recycle cardboard, boxes and other packaging items and to introduce students and families to Saint Michael’s commitment to a sustainable campus.

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