Luther College achieves 50 percent reduction of waste during move out week

Move out week at Luther College was another success this year, with a 56 percent reduction of waste from the 2013 baseline.

Luther students reduced their waste by five more tons than move out week 2017, achieving the goal of a 50 percent reduction by 2018 for move out waste diversion.

Move out week by Luther students accounts for 12 percent of Winneshiek County's population leaving the area. In an effort to be more sustainable and reduce the amount of trash disposed by the county, Luther students are encouraged to use the large recycling receptacles on campus and donate items they don't need. Student coordinators, volunteers and Green Iowa AmeriCorps members donated more than 450 hours of labor during move out week.

This year, the college donated nearly 1,600 pounds of food to the First Lutheran Food Pantry, and in one day composting efforts diverted around 50 pounds of organic matter that would have been thrown in the garbage.

In addition, Luther students filled 10 18-foot trucks with books, school supplies, decorations, bedding, clothing, rugs, furniture, electronics, toiletries, household wares and more to the Depot Outlet and Spectrum Network, two local thrift stores. Batteries and cell phones were collected to be properly recycled through the college's E-waste recycling program. New this year, textbooks were collected for TRIO's Lending Library program. 

"'Move Out Mindfully' has become a way of life for students, with more student involvement from everything to volunteering to learning how to recycle and what can and cannot be donated," said Sarah Forsyth, Luther food and farm fellow.

Luther's efforts during move out week were organized by the college's Center for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates sustainability initiatives at Luther. The mission of the center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.