As part of campus sustainability efforts, Deerfield Academy recently launched its THINK 80/20 campaign to improve our recycling and composting. Our goal is to divert 80% of campus waste from landfills by instead recycling it, reusing it, or composting it, leaving only 20% being sent to landfills. This is an ambitious goal, but achievable. This impressive level of waste diversion is already done by cities as large as San Francisco, so our little village should be able to achieve this as well.
The first phase of THINK 80/20 was completed before the start of the school year, as recycling areas in the dormitories received new, clearer signage that helped users with consistent instructions on how to recycle. Recycling is now being picked up twice as often as before, to encourage more recycling, and many new bins to collect recycling have been placed in and around the dorms. Trash and recycling containers were “right-sized” to make it easier to recycle. Deerfield recycles the “standard” items such as paper, cardboard, bottles & cans, but we are also now recycling metal hangers, shopping bags, batteries, electronics, printer cartridges, and styrofoam. To publicize these new efforts, students recently competed in “Recyclopalooza” at school meeting, racing to quickly and accurately sort a pile of mixed trash and recyclable to earn prizes and glory.
Phase Two of THINK 80/20 will involve rolling out new recycling signs and recycling collection bins across the rest of campus, starting with the food service areas (the dining hall, Greer Cafe, and Starfield Cafe in the Koch Center). Our environmental proctors will continue to educate students and employees on how and why to recycle & compost at DA. New bins and signs are coming soon to a building or field near you. The goals are to make recycling easy, and to encourage people to pause and THINK before they chuck that plastic bottle in whatever bin happens to be nearest them. Most of what we might think of as trash can actually be recycled, reused, or composted, so make sure to THINK before you throw.