Managing Waste at The New School: Think Before You Toss

Guest blog from Erik Eibert, Assistant Director, Buildings Sustainable InitiativesScreen Shot 2016-05-12 at 9.23.14 AM On a busy day at The New School, walking between classes, we all have numerous deadlines, activities and tasks racing through our minds- the least of which is finding the proper waste bin to match the dubious mix of trash that’s occupying our only free hand. We may not think of it in the moment, but the critical decision we make as we toss our trash has a critical impact on the journey those materials will take over the coming months (if recycled), or even, thousand years (if sent to landfill). Further, the decisions we make reflect profoundly on the long-term sustainability of our University.As of 2016, The New School was the only University in NYC to sign on to the New York City Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge. It was a bold move: a commitment- and somewhat of an experiment, to test our ability to respond the pressing issues of waste in our community, and city. Entering the challenge was our way of committing to the long-term aim of reducing- and eventually eliminating, recyclable materials from entering the landfill (diversion).According to the Dept. of Sanitation, 36,200 tons of garbage are produced on daily basis in NYC. At The New School, we produce about 3 tons of landfill waste, recyclables, and compost per day. With a few seconds of extra effort, we can make monumental changes to the ratio of waste we produced by recycling everything that can be recycled. As a community, each of our efforts are equally important, and valued- and each play a critical role in addressing our waste-diversion challenges.Things you can do:

  1. Sort your waste into:
    • Compost
    • Paper/Cardboard Recycling
    • Cans & Bottles
    • Landfill Waste
  2. Participate in the dormitory e-waste drive during move-out through our certified e-waste hauler, and recycle or donate other equipment and materials.
  3. Help identify locations on campus that may be unclear, or suggest other improvements.
  4. Spread the word.
  5. Donate materials to the Parsons Green Supply Center.