Hope Peterson, Zero Waste Coordinator
Waste is a verb not a noun, there is no such thing as waste. We work to change perceptions and practices on campus and in our community. Together, zero waste is possible.
Zero Waste Strategies at Western:
- Single Use Water Bottle Sales Ban implemented in 2012. Water Bottle Refill Stations available in 8 locations.
- Composting in all dining halls and wherever food is sold on campus except the Wade King Recreation Center.
- Recycling available in all buildings
- Utensils, straws, coffee cups and lids among other items are made of 7 PLA plastics and are compostable in the campus system.
- Paper towel compost bins available in the Viking Union and expanding to the rest of campus soon!
- Bigbelly solar-powered waste stations in Red Square
- Composting In Residence Halls!
Waste Audits have been conducted on Western’s waste stream since 2009. Originally conducted by the Air and Waste Management Association, waste audits have since been done by Sustainability Representatives, the A.S Recycle Center, Zero Waste Western and other student groups with the aim to better understand the challenges we face in working to reduce landfill waste. Data shows that roughly 1/3 of what we send to landfill is recyclable and 1/3 is compostable. Nearly 10% of what Western sends to landfill is paper coffee cups.
Waste sorting education is our specialty. Guides like the one above are in each residence hall on campus and you can find sorting signage above each waste station on campus. We are here to answer all of the “What bin does this go in?” questions! Reach out to our staff for event tabling, class presentations, events, custom signage and more.
Coffee Cup Challenge
Waste audit data at Western shows that roughly 10% of what we send to the landfill is just paper coffee cups! At Western you can save 10 cents when you buy coffee simply by bringing your own mug. During Winter Quarter, ZWW campaigns to educate our community on the impacts of this one specific waste issue. You can find us handing out free coffee in Red Square (Bring your mug!) and raffling off prizes from local businesses.
WWU Move-Out Madness
At the end of every school year, Western Washington University and the City of Bellingham partner to sponsor the annual “WWU Moveout Madness” event in several neighborhoods near the university.This program supports neighborhoods with high student populations, including Happy Valley, Sehome, and York. One collection point will be set up in each neighborhood and students will be encouraged to bring their reusable household items, recyclable materials, and landfill items to that point for collection and disposal at no charge. Students are also free to take stuff from pick up sites.