I think a very feasible and impactful change Union College can make to increase our sustainability is to increase the amount of compost collection sites and by providing more recycling bins. Currently, there are only compost bins in the dining halls. However, students and faculty eat and use compostable items all around campus everyday. I think that the college community would use more composting bins if there were more available, for example, in the library and in academic buildings such as Karp or Olin. Often times we throw things in the landfill garbage bins simply because there are no other bins available. By making composting and recycling more accessible, we could cut down our waste and become a more sustainable campus.
Lately the topic of excess garbage, including food waste, has been a hot topic in the news because the destructive effects of excess waste are starting to affect health and safety of people. Excess waste has always been affecting our health and safety but until now the effects have not been so obvious. Excess waste causes air pollution, respiratory diseases, contamination of surface and ground waters and increased bacteria, insects and vermin urban centers. To help alleviate some of the stress on our environment caused by excess waste, I propose that each first year student receives a custom Union Tupperware container. This way the students can use the containers in Reamer for various food options; Rathskeller takeout; and in the dining halls so as to reduce the amount of to-go cups used as makeshift takeout containers. A typical square generic “Tupperware” container costs ~$1.00 so for an incoming class of ~700 students this would call for a grant of ~$750 for custom Tupperware containers. The waste we would be avoiding if this grant were to be granted would far out-cost the cost of the containers. Perhaps dining services could have some kind of program or contest once a term that incorporates the containers and when they hold their “pop-up” events, students should only be served if they have their reusable containers. Perhaps this would also encourage students to purchase more reusable containers and use less one-use containers!