From the Desk of the OES:
“Greetings! With the New Year come fresh ideas and a new team member to the Office of Environmental Sustainability: Meghan Riesterer. As your new Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability, I am very pleased to be among the first to welcome you back to campus for a very happy, healthy, and sustainable New Year with a lower carbon footprint! I am honored to be warmly welcomed into your Oberlin Family. With a rich history in good environmental stewardship, innovative energy solutions, and strong collaboration, I already feel as though I am home here at Oberlin.
Over winter break much progress was made on the transition to become a coal-free institution. Despite the harsh January weather conditions in Northeast Ohio, construction progress was made on the central heating plant facility update project. We continue to be on target to take the coal-fired boilers offline in March of this Spring Semester, although unseasonably cold weather may delay the schedule slightly. Keep your fingers crossed that Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will be wrong again this year. The National Climatic Data Center in Ashville, N.C., shows that Phil’s forecasts are, on average, inaccurate. From 1988 to 2012, Phil was only right 10 times out of the 25-year span. Cheers to an early spring!
Also with the New Year comes new excitement for the Spring Semester. This newsletter has a number of hot topics to warm you up this winter, including the Green Office Program pilot, the coal-free College transition, and preparations for Ecolymipics 2014. You will also find lots of useful updates, such as the Green EDGE Funded waste stations and opportunities to get involved with sustainability on campus.
One of the things that excite me most about Oberlin College is the student body and your tremendous brainpower and passion for living, learning, and building a rich college culture in sustainable principles. I had the opportunity to experience first hand this January some stellar student work from the Resource Conservation Team. For the first time in a staff building, we now have the option to compost! Please allow me to extend to you an open invitation to stop in our OES office in the Service Building Room 209. In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of your most sustainable semester yet!”
-Meghan Riesterer, Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability
News & Announcements
- New Waste Stations: As part of a new pilot program, three buildings on campus, received awesome new waste stations. The dual — recycling and landfill — bins are housed in a durable container made of recycled milk jugs. This pilot in Philips, Fairchild, and the Science Center will determine if these bins increase participation in recycling, decrease contamination in recycling, and decrease the materials being sent to the landfill. If so, the stations will slowly be expanded across campus. This project was made possible by a grant from the Green EDGE Fund through coordination with FacOps, OES, and the Resource Conservation Team (RCT).
- Green EDGE Fund Student Board Seeking Members: If you’re interested in deciding where $250,000 of student funds should be allotted, you should join the Green EDGE Fund! They are seeking 3 student board members. Check out the application here.
- Teaching Food Justice at OHS: Are you interested in teaching food justice at Oberlin High School? If so, you’re in luck. There is a very cool opportunity to work with classes at the Oberlin High School, teaching lessons about food justice and food systems once a week throughout the semester. Contact Elena Makansi for more information.
For all environmental-related events on campus – check out the Environmental Events Calendar! If you would like it to be shared with you, email Bridget. If you would like one of your events to be added to eNewsletter, please email us.
Everyone is getting back to into the groove for the semester. Check out all the happenings at the College Calendar or the Environmental Events calendar.
For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/
Here are various US waste and recycling facts, in numbers.
The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups each year! That’s more than 1 per day! This is an especially problematic fact given that Styrofoam as it takes hundreds of millions of years to break down. Seattle, Portland, Westchester (NY), Berkeley, and Malibu (CA) have all banned Styrofoam foodware for this reason. Making 1 ton of paper from recycled paper saves up to 17 trees and uses 50% less water than creating paper from virgin pulp. Recycling 1 ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 207 million Btus, which is equal to 36 barrels of oil, or 1,665 gallons of gasoline.
Green Room Program
140 people have certified their room with the Green Room Program!
the Green Office Program for faculty/ staff departmental offices. Email OES if you want your office to participate. The pilot will begin this spring with selected offices and the full launch will occur in the fall!
Did You Know?
- The new MAX-R waste stations on campus are made from recycled milk jugs. Each of the stations give new life to approximately 1128 milk jugs.
- Most coffee cups that you get at DeCafe, Azariah’s, Slow Train, the Local, and other locations around town cannot be recycled. The lid and cardboard sleeve can be put into recycling, but the actual cup has a wax lining that renders it ineligible to be recycled for paper. Instead of using a paper cup, bring your own mug or get a ceramic “for here” mug! You can even get a mug discount at DeCafe, Science Cart, Azariah’s, Slow Train, the Local, Starbucks, and other retailers if you bring your own mug!
- Speaking of coffee, single-serve coffee makers tend to create a significant amount more waste than drip coffeemakers. It is estimated that these cups create about 10x as much waste as drip coffee. Approximately 9 billion single serve coffee cups were sent to the landfill in 2012. Yikes!
- Republic’s Material Recover Facility in Oberlin underwent massive renovations last year. Oberlin is now able to
RECYCLE PLASTICS #1 through #7 as well as cartons!They used to only accept #1 and #2. This applies to both City and College collection. PLEASE RECYCLE! Read this for more information
or the RCT’s website.
- Back to school: You can get (theoretical) bonus points this semester if you purchase used or recycled products for all of you back to school needs. Reuse has never been easier! You can get used products online (Amazon, craigslist, Oberlin Classifieds) or head to the Free Store or Recycled Products Co-op.
- Reduce waste: Check out this great resource list on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle effectively in Oberlin. If you are ever confused, don’t hesitate to contact the RCT at firstname.lastname@example.org.