Sustainable Clark

Reducing Waste

Clark Composts! in (almost all) Residence Halls: "If it was ever alive, you can compost it" — Clark Composts! One of very few colleges in the nation to be so bold, Clark rolled out an innovative compost collection program in Johnson-Sanford, Wright, and Dodd Halls in Fall 2013. The program was so successful (with over 700 student signatures in support), that is has been expanded to MORE residential halls for Fall 2014! Only Blackstone is not included in the compost collection program. Residential Life, Physical Plant, Sustainable Clark, Clark Composts! and the Recycling Crew partner to collect and divert all compostable items in these halls. Food items and paper towels that previously went to landfill can now be composted right in the dorms. Funding for this dynamic student-designed program is from the SSF. Clark Composts! Guidelines outline the huge variety of items that can be composted. Why add to landfill?? Why? Compost or recycle it!

Clark's Student-Run Community Thrift Store: Over 40 Tons Diverted from Landfill: The wildly popular student-run Community Thrift Store, now in its fifth year, was founded by students to reduce move-out waste and provide a sustainable, affordable shopping alternative. The Thrift Store has now collected approximately 40 tons of donations — perfectly good items that were then resold at reasonable prices to Clarkies and members of the surrounding community at affordable prices. The Thrift Store is managed and operated by students. In spring of 2014 the Thrift Store had to close suddenly due to structural safety issues with the church next door. The Community Thrift Store re-opened in Fall 2014 at 930 Main St. next to Acoustic Java, with a new look and an improved selection of quality items. The mission of the Store remains the same: Save, grow & give. Together.

Dining Services Introduces 'ChoosetoReuse' green to go containers in the Bistro Cafe; Lean Path in the Kitchen: Already providing sustainable, compostable cardboard and starch-ware take out containers, Dining Services has gone further with ChoosetoReuse. No more waste from take-out containers! For only $5, you are provided with a large, reusable container for take out food. Bring the container back and exchange it for a clean one, filled with your favorite take-out! Dining Services will clean and exchange the Green2Go's for most Bistro items. (Faculty and staff can also take advantage of ChoosetoReuse at the Higgins and Bistro cafes). Lean Path, a revolutionary software program to monitor pre-consumer food waste in the preparation of cafeteria food, has been operational since 2013. In the first year with Lean Path, Clark Dining Services kitchen managed to reduce waste by almost 6 tons!

Clark Wins MassRecycle, Three Years in a Row: In 2013 Clark won MassRecycle 'Best Student Effort' among Massachusetts colleges and universities for its innovative and successful dorm composting program! A collaborative effort two years in the making, the state agency was so impressed that they created a category to showcase Clark's achievement. In 2012 Clark was recognized by the DEP's MassRecycle for its student Recycling Crew and their partners in Physical Plant, the Thrift Store, and Sustainable Clark: recycling rate of 30%; diversion rate of 50%; waste decreased by 50 tons! ( Clark placed third in the state behind Harvard and Tufts Universities - not bad company, considering the resources those two giants 'throw' at managing waste!) In 2011 Clark Dining Services was awarded first place for its effective composting program in Higgins Cafeteria, averaging 200 tons of waste diverted to compost per year.

Recycling & Diversion Rate Soared in 2013, Improved in 2014: Clark's 2013 recycling rate was 35%, up from 19% in 2011! Our 2014 recycling rate was 36%, while the total diversion rate was 55%.

Awareness, effort of the Clark Recycling Crew, and 230 new recycling bins throughout campus make it easier for the Clark community to recycle paper, all plastic #1-7, styrofoam glass and metal. In 2012 CU Student Council loaned money to the Recycling Initiative of the CSC, and several 2013 SSF-funded student projects added to Clark's bin capacity. A special budget allocation in 2015 will add 10 more recycled lumber recycling stations in prominent locations. Clean recyclable paper and cardboard are an income stream for the University so by increasing our capacity to recycle with more bins, the investment payoff is shorter. Clark's diversion rate, which includes compost, donations, salvage and recycled material was 53% in 2013, up from 40% in 2011.

Now it's your turn: Re-Imagine, Reduce, Reuse and RECYCLE!

Waste Audit 2012 Results: 500# of Garbage per Day in the Halls

We got down and dirty with your garbage in October 2012. Volunteers from Eco Reps,Recycling Crew, the Clark Sustainability Collaborative and Residential Advisors weighed and sorted one day's worth of garbage collected from all Residential Halls.
The surprising results? Clarkies generate over 500 pounds of garbage per day in the Halls. Was it all garbage? No. Break it down:
24% Recycle (paper, plastic #1-7, cardboard, bottles & cans, e-waste)
59% Compost* (food, soiled paper, compostable cups)
1% Reuse/Donate (books, clothes, etc)
16% Landfill Garbage (plastic bags, styrofoam, un-reusable articles)
Let's move that 24% recyclable materials from landfill to the recycle bins!
*The protocol for waste audits requires that items are weighed rather than counted. Consider that an empty plastic bottle weighs very little, while half a pizza weighs much more. Since Clark does not collect compost in the Halls, that category says more about patterns of consumption and food waste than anything else. SSF has awarded funding to begin a Hall composting program based on a pilot.

Clark Now an EPA WasteWise Partner: Recycling Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

Students and Recycling Crew members Lorelei Obermyer '13 and Heather Mackenzie '12 researched and compiled nine years of Clark's waste and recycling data to fulfill the EPA's requirements to be a WasteWise partner. Among other benefits, the system's WARM calculator converts volumes of different items recycled into greenhouse gas equivalencies incorporating full life cycle analysis. For example, the paper we recycled in 2011 equaled the carbon sequestration capacity of 5,963 trees over ten years. Clark's total recycling volume in just 2010 and 2011 reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 1,500 tons of CO2!