There's an exciting new trend among higher education institutions: going green, and then going greener. Many have far exceeded LEED requirements for environmental sustainability, innovating everything from flatware to textbook lifecycles. Most recently, Georgia's Agnes Scott College joined a group of schools that strive for carbon neutral or zero waste status.
According to CBS Atlanta, the women's college currently reuses, recycles or composts 64 percent of its waste, a 30 percent improvement in the past two years. The school aims to reach zero waste by 2012 and its strategic plan includes things like reusable take-out containers from the dining halls and transformation of hard-to-recycle items (think: chip bags) into tote bags and toys. The CBS story says the school has contracted with a company to help with these items.
Some of the changes that allowed Agnes Scott to make such progress included a single-stream recycling program, which meant students could recycle many items in one bin rather than having to sort the items first. The school's Strategic Plan also includes partnerships with companies to help with electronics recycling.
If the college succeeds, it will become the first zero waste school in Georgia. Agnes Scott says zero waste status is the first step of its long-term goal: climate neutrality by 2039.