Denison aims to be a Zero Waste campus
Through, recycling, composting, reuse of usable materials and efficient sourcing and purchasing of goods and materials, Denison aims to be a Zero Waste campus. Each year we make great strides forward, but there is always more to be done. Denison has a number of initiatives that help to reduce waste on campus while also benefiting the college and local community.
ANNUAL EVENTS - RECYCLING & WASTE REDUCTION
Welcome Back Picnic in the fall and Aestavalia celebration in the spring are both zero waste events. Menus are carefully planned, games and crafts planned, and activities designed to ensure everything used is compostable, reusable, and/or recyclable. These events, while not 100% zero waste, generally allow us to divert over 90% of the waste from landfills.
Through collaborative partnership between the Alford Community Leadership & Involvement Center, the Food Recovery Network, and Bon Appetit, students at Denison donate leftover food from the dining halls. Student volunteers organize and provide leftovers to six local organizations that feed food insecure populations. This program is award-winning and was the first in the county to use reusable containers to transport the food. In a normal year, we donate over 5,000 lbs of food. Read more.
Every year, Denison faculty and staff are able to exchange or freecycle unused and/or unneeded office supplies. Items exchanged include pens, pencils and folders, printer cartridges and even desk organizers. By taking part in the exchange, offices are able to save resources and reduce department purchasing for items that are already in stock on campus.
Each year the Purchasing Office at Denison conducts a surplus sale of used items that the college no longer needs or intends to use. These items generally include: file cabinets, desks, tables, chairs, bed frames, mattresses, and various other residential hall and office materials. Items can be purchased by Denison employees and nonprofit organizations that service the local community. The goal of the sale is not necessarily to generate funds, but rather to ensure that usable items are not thrown into the trash or kept in storage until they become too old to be of value. The surplus sale is one of many ways that Denison works towards reducing its waste and impact on the environment.
In an effort to reduce waste and encourage recycling and the reuse of discarded or unwanted items, each year Denison’s Facilities Department organizes Operation Move-Out.
Operation Move-Out occurs at the end of the academic year as students get ready to return home. Moving PODS are brought to campus and placed near residence halls. Students can put any unwanted non-trash items into the PODS. All the items in the PODS are donated to local service organizations.
Every year, right before spring break, Denison Operating Work Staff (DOWS) holds a sale in Slayter Union. Donated books, videos, and DVDs are sold to students, faculty and staff. The DOWS book sale is a great way to pick up a spring-break read and to promote the reuse of materials and lower the amount of good reads that are thrown away.
Denison recycles well over 250 tons of material annually. Our commingled recycling process allows you to put any recyclable material into any labeled bin on campus. We then either sort it on campus in our own on-campus recycling center or we send it to a facility to be sorted out and recycled.
What can be recycled on campus is constantly evolving. The college makes every attempt to identify viable outlets for its waste material. Here’s a snapshot of what can be recycled on campus. For a more comprehensive list, consult the Campus Guide to Recycling & Waste Disposal.
Denison composts in both dining halls on campus, as well as, a few other select locations. We are constantly evaluating ways to expand composting opportunities. While the majority of our edible food leftovers are donated through our Food Recovery Network, we still process nearly 4,000 pounds of food waste each week. That may seem like a lot but, because of our focus on local sourcing and farm-to-fork dining, we generate a lot of food waste associated with the preparation of our food - in short, we don’t use a lot of pre-packaged or processed food.