Luther takes an innovative approach to reduce waste generation on campus by implementing a variety of unique and effective projects to keep items in circulation and out of the landfill. These initiatives emphasize the education of the Luther community on the importance and practicality of waste reduction. There are a number of environmental, social, and economic benefits to each of these projects as well. The Center for Sustainable Communities continues to collaborate with students, faculty, staff, and community members to facilitate a transition to a greener future.
Located in Valders 364, recycle or reuse a number of office supplies available to all students, faculty and staff. The closet is open from 8am-5pm during the week and contains binders, folders, notebooks, scissors, staplers, hole punchers, pens, pencils, paper clips, thumb tacks, and more. Before tossing your old supplies, consider someone else can get another use out of them and bring them to the Office Supplies Reuse Closet. Simply place the supplies in an orderly fashion on the shelf to the right of the door. Remember, the more you give and the more you take, the more successful this project is!
Each faculty and staff office is equipped with a personal recycling bin and a hanging waste basket. Place all of your recyclable material in the blue recycling bin and non-recyclable waste in the hanging waste basket. The custodial staff will sort your recycling after you leave the office for the day. Please only place dry waste into the hanging waste basket.
Each student residence received a recycling bin at the beginning of the year. The bins included recycling instructions on what can and cannot be recycled. Students are responsible for sorting their recyclables and bringing them to the nearest recycling roll-off outside of their residence hall. With the help of a Department of Natural Resources Solid Waste Alternatives Program Grant and a partnership with Winneshiek County, Luther College installed new recycling roll-off dumpsters outside of each residence hall.
PaperCut is Luther’s print management solution deployed by Information Technology Services (ITS) in 2016. Print management services allow us to more accurately track individual usage and allocate costs in providing print services on campus. They are part of our effort to help cut down on waste and encourage better management of printing resources. The cost of double-sided printing is $.04/side, as opposed to the $.05 charged if printing single sided.
Luther College has installed a number of water bottle filling stations in order to reduce the need for single-use plastic water bottles. These filling stations encourage students, faculty, and staff to carry reusable water bottles and avoid unnecessary waste generation. Each week, the filling stations are used thousands of times across campus.
Visit campus shortly after students move out of residence halls in the spring and you’ll see first hand proof how much is thrown away during that last week. Dumpsters fill, get removed, and fill again. The environmental impact of our blossoming landfills is evident. More troubling is all the perfectly usable items that are trashed. Luther has partnered with local thrift stores, the First Lutheran Church Food Pantry and Winneshiek Recycling Center to collect and sell items generated during move-out week. Students can drop off a plethora of usable items in the days leading up to move out at the following locations:
Signs with instructions regarding recycling, trash, and miscellaneous items such as food, will be located at drop off spots.
My work coordinating waste projects on campus has broadened my understanding of the intricacies of implementing solutions for environmental problems. I’ve learned that growing strong connections with community members is of vital importance to working towards change in habit and ideology. Making these connections with different groups on campus has been my favorite part of working with the sustainability department!
–Jack Rosenwinkel, '16