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Earth Week Wrap-Up

It’s no secret that TU is going green, and this semester is no different. Last week, TU was named to Princeton Review’s List of Green Colleges for the second year in a row! In honor of that announcement and the culmination of last week’s Earth Day events, here is a wrap-up of sustainability programs, events and competitions held on campus this semester:

All-StAR Report

From 2009 to 2010, TU increased its recycling rate by more than 2%. Although this statistic may seem small, it equates to a decrease of nearly 400 tons of trash.  Perhaps even more impressive is that over the past year the university achieved a decrease of 17% in the total amount of all solid waste (trash and recyclables) generated on campus. According to Sustainability Director Jack Nye, this reduction is important because “A decrease in total solid waste results in less trash and recyclables that need to be transported and disposed/processed, which advances the ultimate goal of reducing campus operating costs and carbon emissions.”

The new solid waste statistics are reflected in the university’s 2010 All State Agencies Recycle (All-StAR) report, submitted to the state earlier this spring. The annual report tracks recycling and refuse statistics in several categories, and historical data from the report shows an upward trend in the university’s recycling rate following the implementation of the single-stream RecycALL program in 2008. That year, the university’s recycling rate was 22.61%; in 2009, the recycling rate increased to 25.24%, and last year it was at an all-time high of 27.42%. The recycling rate is measured by dividing total Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) recyclables collected by total solid waste generated. For more information on campus recycling, and to read the All-StAR report in full, go to www.towson.edu/recycling.

Environmental Conference

Towson University’s third annual Environmental Conference was held Monday April 18, 2011 in the University Union. More than 300 students, faculty, staff and community members attended the annual conference, which included nearly 20 sessions on topics ranging from community-supported agriculture to sustainable business practices. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.towson.edu/studentaffairs/civicengagement/environmentalInitiatives/environmentalConference.asp. See photos from the conference, as well as photos from the Earth Week Art Contest and videos from the Conserve Video Contest, at facebook.com/TowsonGoesGreen.

RecycleMania Competition

For ten weeks this spring, TU tracked and submitted weekly recycling and trash statistics as part of the annual RecycleMania competition. The university’s goal for this year’s competition was to reduce the overall solid waste stream by promoting conservation practices. That goal was achieved, as the university experienced a 13% reduction in the solid waste stream from the 2010 to 2011 competition. This achievement was fueled by a nearly 16% reduction in trash during the competition weeks, which is consistent with the downward trend in trash waste demonstrated in the 2010 All StAR report. For more information on the competition, go to www.towson.edu/recyclemania.

Recycling Drop-Off

More than 100 students, faculty, staff and community members dropped off hard-to-recycle items like personal electronics, light bulbs, batteries and more at the university’s annual recycling drop-off Wednesday, April 20. The drop-off collected nearly 5,000 pounds of electronics, nearly 200 pounds of batteries, and more than 20 pounds of lightbulbs for a total of nearly 5,400 pounds of recyclables diverted from the landfill! This is more than double the amount collected at last year’s drop off. For photos of the drop-off, go to facebook.com/TowsonGoesGreen.

For more information about Towson’s green initiatives, including a series of case studies on campus sustainability projects, go to www.towson.edu/gogreen.

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