Current green initiatives
Look around. Almost everywhere you go on campus – classrooms, residence halls, offices, lobbies and
commons areas – you’ll find blue recycle bins for recycling paper and
cardboard, aluminum, and No. 1 and No. 2 plastics.
Thanks to the dedication of staff volunteers, paper
recyclables in the administrative buildings on the main campus are collected
weekly. Columbia College contracts with Civic Recycling to collect
recyclables, and with New World Recycling to collect the college’s paper shreds.
But that’s not all! The Columbia College Relay for Life team
proudly participates in a CANcer Crushing campaign, collecting and recycling
aluminum cans from campus and donating the proceeds to the Relay for Life
Check out the team’s stats from the 2013-14 academic year:
- Cans collected: 259,522
- Total bags of cans: 920
- Total weight: 7,633 lbs
- Money Raised: $3,995
How can you Go for Greener? Recycle! It’s as simple as that.
Consider the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- 70 percent of Americans recycle newspapers
- 54.6 percent of Americans recycle aluminum cans
- 30.8 percent recycle plastic bottles and jars
We can do better than that at Columbia College! With the
abundance of blue bins on campus, it’s easy to recycle these items. Plus, we
should aim to help the Relay for Life team raise even more money for the CANcer
Crushing campaign in the 2014-15 academic year – just drop your aluminum cans
in the blue bins!
Reducing food waste
The Environmental Protection Agency states that food
accounts for the largest amount of any single material reaching landfills from
municipal solid waste. On average, some 36 million tons of food reach landfills
each year, where it rots and creates methane gas,
a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
That sounds pretty dire. Fortunately, by making a couple of small changes, Columbia College is doing its part to reduce food waste.
Reusable to-go boxes
Thanks to the Residence Hall Advisory Council and AmeriServe, reusable plastic to-go
boxes have been available in Dulany Hall for diners on the run since February
2011. For an up-front,
refundable $5 deposit, payable at Dulany Hall, you will receive a card to trade
for a to-go box. Bring the box back dirty or clean to exchange for a fresh box,
or to receive your card to trade for a box on another day. When the school year
is over or you’re certain you’re done with the box, bring your card back to
receive your $5 deposit.
And for those diners who have time to sit and eat, you’ve probably noticed the lack
of trays in Dulany Hall. Since August 2011, Dulany has been trayless to
encourage diners to take only what they can carry in their hands from the food
line. Prior to going trayless, Dulany Hall weighed the amount of food wasted during a
single lunch period:
- 84 meals were served
- 70 pounds, or 13 gallons of food, wasted
- 25 pounds, or 30 gallons of paper, wasted
- Approximately 100 meals could have been served out of this wasted food
Dulany Hall experimented with the concept by implementing trayless dining on certain
days and noticed that diners, without the ability to pile food on their trays
that they may or may not consume, wasted less. Diners became more conscientious
about what their food selections and food waste was reduced!
How can you Go for Greener? Easy! Take advantage of the reusable to-go boxes at Dulany.
Make smart choices when eating at Dulany – take only what you know you will
eat. You can always get seconds (or thirds!) if you’re still hungry.
Visit the Cougar Café to purchase a reusable coffee mug for just
$10. Coffee refills are less expensive in the reusable mug, so the mug pays for
itself in no time.
Off campus, reusable travel mugs and containers for food and beverages reduce waste, too.
In 2012 Americans recycled approximately 65 percent of the 69 million tons of paper and paperboard they used.
So just how much is one ton of paper, anyway? One ton of paper is the equivalent of about 17 mature
trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of space in a landfill and about two barrels of oil.
About 27 percent of our municipal solid waste is
paper. Don’t you think we can be doing better? While recycling is important, reducing paper consumption to begin with is equally important.
Columbia College carefully monitors how much paper it uses on its main campus. Check out these 2012 statistics:
How can you Go for Greener? Columbia
College is proud to offer free, unlimited printing to students. To help reduce
paper consumption, just be sure you are printing only what you need, and print
front to back whenever possible. Faculty and staff also can reduce paper
consumption by utilizing front to back printing, electronic communication and
taking advantage of the document imaging services provided by Mail, Imaging and Printing Services to help digitize and organize files.
Ground source water heating and air conditioning system
A groundsource heat pump or geothermal heat pump is a type of energy
system that utilizes the earth’s heat to regulate a building’s temperature.
During the winter, the pump pulls heat from the ground, and during the winter
the pump dissipates heat into the ground.
In 1993, Columbia College became a pioneer in
energy technology when it installed a groundsource heat pump for the entire main campus, replacing
outdated radiators and window air conditioning units. Few campuses boasted this
technology at the time, which provides year-round temperature control of 70
percent of campus buildings and has reduced energy costs by about 15 percent.
Responding to U.S. Department of Energy mandates phasing outT12 lamp fixtures beginning July 1, 2010, Columbia College proudly has
converted nearly all of its less efficient T12 incandescent tube lights to more
efficient T8 fluorescent lights. T12 and T8 refer to the diameters of lamp
tubes, with the T8 having a smaller diameter that uses less energy.
Additionally, T8 lights are manufactured to function using less mercury and are
thus more sustainable.
simple ways you can Go for Greener on campus and at home that don’t
require you to install fancy new underground systems or lighting fixtures:
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Close off vents in rooms you don't use often
- Turn down the thermostat on your heating and air conditioning when you're not at home, or buy a programmable thermostat, which is fairly inexpensive, easy to install and pays for itself quickly
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last for years and save money