Even small campuses are large when it comes to purchasing power. Collectively, colleges and universities spend more than $360 billion a year. Spending a higher percentage of that money on environmentally friendly goods and services brings numerous benefits to campuses and their surrounding communities.
Such a policy can create new jobs, lower prices, boost environmental protection and build the market for environmentally friendly goods and services. Students can play key roles in helping their colleges and universities identify and purchase more environmentally friendly options, thus using this buying leverage to create more sustainable communities.
The buying leverage can also be used to make current goods and services ‘greener.’ Colleges and universities have profound opportunities to influence each point along the lifecycles of these goods and services, from how products are made and where they come from to how they are packaged and used, and whether or not they are re-used and recycled.
What can you do as a student to reduce your institution's waste and consumption?
Improve your campus recycling efforts- start a Zero Waste campaign.
Work with your food service vendors to compost pre and post-consumer food waste.
Engage with your office of sustainability to conduct a waste audit
Interested in pursuing a consumption and waste career? Check out the consumption and waste careers outlook in the EcoLeaders Career Center to learn more about careers in the field, hear from professionals, and map out your career plan.
- Generation E: How Students are leading for a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future, Recycling and Waste: pages 35-39
- RecycleMania Student Leader Guide
- RecycleMania Behavior Change Guide
- RecycleMania Campus Case Studies
- St. Edward’s University case study demonstrates how the university is saving paper
- University of North Carolina case study shows how changing housekeeping procedures can save money and make the process more sustainable
- University of Wyoming recycles textbooks and donates 10,000 pounds of books to Better World Books in this case study example
- SWANA MentorMatch Program (Free with SWANA membership)
- SWANA Recycling Resources Page
- SWANA Career Center
- MySWANA online community and eLibrary (Free with SWANA membership)
Campus Race to Zero Waste