From your pen to your chair to the wrapper your lunch came in.
Dartmouth acquires, buys, and disposes of an enormous amount of stuff: food, computers, water, desk chairs, coffee cups, beds, post-it notes, trucks…. We could go on and on. So how does this relate to sustainability? We think we could do a better, smarter job of choosing what we buy, buying what we need, and reducing what we throw away.
To be clear, we know we need stuff: Our professors need top-notch supplies, our students must have healthy, delicious food and the best-equipped classrooms, our staff needs the right tools and equipment. That said, we think we can use what we have more efficiently and change what we buy to use it better.
We have impact in two areas: what we buy and what we get rid of.
We buy a lot of stuff. We’re guessing somewhere around $100M of stuff per year. That’s a lot of impact. We also get rid of a lot of stuff. Un-recycled waste per capita at Dartmouth measures just half of the American average — but the American average is too high, and there’s room for us to reduce and recycle even more. We’re constantly looking for new ways to do just that, from students retrofitting the now famous motor coach to run on used vegetable oil, to reducing campus trash by thinking outside a smaller box. Solid waste and waste-to-landfill continue to be massive problems everywhere, and present massive creative opportunities.
Have an idea for doing it better? Now is the time to get involved.