The College Student Sustainability Pack

11.04.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

As a college student it can be difficult to be sustainable while living on campus, but here are some things that can make up a college student’s sustainable survival pack!

First let’s start with the food. Instead of bringing pastic food storage bags and plastic cups and silverware, make your own little “mini kit” complete with tupperware storage, reusable mugs, bowls, cups, and plates that you can wash, and some real silverware. Also it wouldn’t hurt to try and find an eco-friendly dishwashing liquid for when you have to wash your dishes!

Also in terms of containers and storage, you can buy some cool reusable bags that you can use to hold your new purchases when you go out shopping instead of taking a plastic bag to hold what you bought and you can use the plastic bags you may have leftover from previous shopping excursions to line your dormroom trashcan or you can use them to hold empty cans and cardboard for the recycling bin so you can make one trip every few weeks instead of a trip every day!

Now we’ll tackle college essentials, coffee and water! Instead of buying bottled water and/or buying a coffee cup with your favorite beverage in it every day, you can invest in a reusable water bottle and a reusable to-go coffee mug for a small one-time fee. Not only are these containers getting cuter and more stylish every day, but they can also save you some money on coffee at some locations. Also the reusable water bottles are great for storing juice and other cold beverages as well! You could also personalize your mugs and water bottles with stickers or puffy paint to make it truly yours. Can you imagine how much we could reduce the amount of trash produced on Campus if everyone used either a reusable water bottle or a reusable to-go mug instead of throwing away a plastic bottle or a mug from the Commons everyday? Also, a brita water filter is great if you don’t want to refill your water bottle straight from the tap!

 

The next thing every student should have is a Zipcard. If you are the kind of student that only needs to use a car once in a while when you’re on campus then don’t waste your money on a parking decal and insurance! Instead, spend a fraction of the money on a zipcard and only pay for using a car when you actually have to use it. Not only will a zipcard save you money, but it will also save the environment, with less CO2 emissions being released into the air everyday!

The last items to round out the college student’s sustanability pack have to do with laundry. Every college student has laundry to do whether we like or not. Did you know that doing laundry with chemical detergents reduces the freshwater supply we have and that drying your clothes is a huge energy-eater? One way to reduce our environmental impacts when we do laundry is to use detergents that are free of harmful chemicals. An up and coming new detergent that is chemical-free is the soap nut. These nuts are from the Chinese Soap Berry Tree and they are an all-natural way to clean your clothes and leave them smelling fresh! Also, instead of using the dryer all the time, try investing in a drying rack for your room and use the drying rack to reduce the number of laundry loads you transfer to the dryer. By taking these simple steps you can help to greatly reduce the harmful effects that doing your laundry has on the environment.

There are many other ways you can choose to be more sustainable while living at school so get creative and have fun with it!

-Aimee Morrison

5 Reasons To Stop Drinking Bottled Water

11.03.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Americans love bottled water. While a substantial portion of the world is desperate for clean drinking water, America spends billions of dollars on bottled water when clean drinking water is readily available. For some reason, people are under the illusion that bottled water is cleaner and healthier, both of which are not true. Here is a quick list of five reasons of why you should drink tap water.

1. Tap water is safer.   Tap water is tested for e. coli, required to provide a source, and its distributors are required to produce a quality report. Private distributors are required to do none of this. The EPA sets higher quality standards for tap water than the FDA does for bottled water.

2. Tap water is cheaper.   Tap water costs $.0015/gallon while bottled water costs $10/gallon. If the water we use in our homes cost what bottled water costs, monthly bills would be up to $9,000.

3. Reduce recycling waste.   Only 20% of bottled water is recycled. This contributes to 3 billion pounds of waste from plastic water bottles per year.

4. Use less oil.    17 million barrels of oil are used yearly to produce bottled water. This is enough oil to run 1 million cars for a year.

5. Bottling companies make water a commodity.    The privatization of municipal water supplies is a multi-billion dollar industry that ruins the communities they operate out of. Corporations are increasingly purchasing water rights and putting a price on a basic human right: access to safe, affordable drinking water.

A simple solution to the problem of bottled water is to stopping buying it! You can make a direct difference by using stainless steel thermos’, nalgenes, or filtering pitchers. Safe your money while saving the environment!

Cost-Benefit and Wind Energy by Anthony V. Ardizzone

11.01.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Beginning in the Spring of 2008, Babson College erected a thirty-five foot tall windmill on campus.

 

Windmill

The windmill at Babson College

 

As a business school, you have to think why the school would do such a thing. Many people will say that Babson is hoping to promote corporate social responsibility. While this may definitely be true (and a plus), this is obviously not enough of a justification. As a business school, Babson College is most likely savvy regarding profit and loss accounting. While erecting a windmill may do wonders for the school’s environmental profile, there must have also been a price factor on all of this. The truth is that there probably is because such a windmill would ultimately save Babson money in the long run.

The windmill erected was the SkyStream 3.7. You can read more about it here.

 

SkyStream

A close view of the windmill turbine used at Babson College

 

So how much does this windmill cost? $50,000? $75,000? No. Just under $7,000. In addition, at Babson, the windmill generates approximately sixty percent of the annual energy used in Babson’s Entrepreneurial Center, a building relatively similar in size to Cushing-Martin. Just imagine the savings. High electric bills can be a thing of the past with such a windmill. I think it’s about time that Stonehill started funding alternative energy and save money at the time. Both the environment and individual wallets depend on it.

 

Babson Green Report Card

Due in large part to its windmill and administrative initiative to alternative energy, Babson College received a B on the Green Report Card. Stonehill currently has a D+.

Get Rid of those Halloween Pumpkins the Cool Way!

10.31.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Halloween!!

Another Halloween has come and gone and now you may be left with a carved pumpkin or two or some painted pumpkins that may have a little bit longer shelf life. Instead of filling up the trash bins in the residence halls, grab a friend and walk over to Rehoboth in the Senior Courts. Right next to Rehoboth stands a black compost bin that you can put the remains of your pumpkin in so that it can be left to decompose and be returned to the earth as fertile soil. Did you know that composting can produce a very fertile organic soil that can be used to help other plants grow into big and tasty fruits and vegetables? So instead of letting your pumkin waste away into uselessness, let it keep other decaying fruits and veggies company as they compost away into rich soil that can be used in the Spring! And now that you know where a compost bin is on campus, don’t forget that you can drop all your waste from fruits and veggies in there too while you’re walking by on your way to class!

Also, Here’s a list of some things that you can compost that maybe you have never thought of before:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/surprising-compost-items.html

-Aimee Morrison

Being Green (and economic) at Roche Dining Commons

10.25.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Plastic to-go containers offer a great resource if you need food on the run, but, not only are they not very eco-friendly as many are trashed instead of recycled, each container has a small cost deducted from your meal plan.  If you’re anything like my friends, you’ll be running low on your meal plan sooner rather than later so you’ll be looking for ways to cut costs.

What about purchasing a plastic green reusable to-go container?  Sold at the dessert counter in the Commons, these containers have a one time fee associated with them.  After enjoying your meal, a simple cleaning of the containers is all that is necessary to prepare them until the next time they’re used.  Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about whether it should be recycled or thrown in the trash because you can keep it until you no longer need it.

Another economic and eco-friendly thing to do is bring your refillable water bottles to the Commons instead of using the plastic or paper cups provided.  A discount is associated with water bottles and you’ll be saving the earth with barely any effort.

So when December rolls around and you’re not panicking about having no money on your meal plan, you can thank an EcoRep and the Commons for providing you simple, economic ways to go green on our very own campus!

 

Where’s my Check?

10.24.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Working in the Campus Ministry office, I have experience as to how I receive my paycheck. I submit my time sheet every two weeks just like every other employee at Stonehill. That amounts to twenty-six weeks of payment. For hundreds of employees-from the political science professor to the cleaning guy in Duffy at 9:00 pm to Fr. Mark Cregan-this means that a lot of paper is used to pay everyone.

But wait, how come I never receive my check? Simple. I do not actually receive a physical check. In order to make everyone’s lives easier, the college payroll is now 100% electronic. Every employee has their check directly deposited into their checking or saving account with their bank. There is no paper or waste at all, period.

So what are the benefits of this policy? Of course, this policy is environmentally-friendly. It reduces the use of paper. It saves trees. It eliminates waste. However, what about people who do not care about the environment. Where’s the benefit to them? Once again, this is a simple answer. It saves money.

By reducing the use of paper, the college has done itself a decent service by saving resources. These resources, like everything else in the world, have a cost. By not using up the resource of paper, Stonehill is in fact saving money (and a lot of it) by handling this sort of financial activity electronically. But what of the paper company? Are they losing because of this policy?

Technically, yes. They do not receive Stonehill’s business as much due to the fact that Stonehill is not purchasing more paper. However, there is a problem with this analysis. Since Stonehill does not consume more paper than it may have if such activity were not completely electronic, the paper company does not need to spend as much money to acquire the paper in the first place. Since the demand for paper has dropped, the quantity of paper needed by the paper company has also decreased. Therefore, the company does not to spend as much of its own money to get paper from other productive sectors in the economy. Therefore, the paper company may win or lose depending on the drop in demand, but Stonehill is gaining more than the paper company is losing, if they are losing at all. Therefore, from Stonehill’s perspective, this payment policy is a win-win. For the paper company, it can also be a win-win as long as they understand the price mechanism and the supply and demand shifts in the economy. If knowledge in prices can be achieved by all parties, then the result is a win-win for everyone.

So if you work on campus and you do not know where your check is, then you should look at your email. Chances are it will already be in your bank account, and both our wallets and our environment will be happy to know that.

Where does all the E-Waste go?

10.22.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Look at all that E-Waste!

So you just got a brand new flat screen tv or you bought a brand new laptop because your old one was running to slow. Now your old electronics are just taking up space and they have no use to you anymore so you bring them to your local electronics recycling drive. You know that state laws and regulations require you to get rid of your E-Waste in a safe manner by bringing it to an appropriate drop-off site or by disposing of it properly, but have you ever wondered where your old electronics with all of those nasty and toxic chemicals go once you drop them off and drive away? Many people don’t know the truth about E-Waste dumping and it can be quite disturbing. Did you know that the U.S. exports about 80 percent of its E-Waste to China, where poor Chinese citizens pick apart circuit boards and other parts of computers and tvs with their hands as toxic chemicals burin their hands and toxic fumes fill their lungs? Did you also know that several toxic chemicals that can cause nervous damage, cancer, and kidney damage such as mercury, cadmium, and several other toxins? 

The illegal exportation of E-Waste to other countries has become a serious problem in the United States and it is risking the lives of several innocent people overseas who risk their lives to obtain these chemicals because they are forced to make a choice between poison and poverty. So now that you know where all that E-Waste goes what can you do to help? Well, before you recycle your electronic waste, do some homework and look into the sites where you are recycling. Try to find a facility that specifically states that they recycle their E-Waste in the United States and they DO NOT ship their E-Waste overseas. Another thing you can do to help is to hold onto to that “outdated” cell phone, Ipod, laptop, or tv until it really doesn’t work anymore or until it absolutely must be replaced. By cutting down on your consumption of these electronic products and by doing your best to make sure the site you recycle at practices safe and legal recycling of E-Waste we can put an end to the exportation of our E-Waste to other countries where others must recycle them in an unsafe manner.

Here is some more information about the growing problem with E-Waste and how you can help!

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20068980-10391709.html?tag=mncol;lst;5

-A 6o Minutes segment on following e-waste to China

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/toxics/hi-tech-highly-toxic/e-waste-solutions/

-GreenPeace proposed solutions of how to put an end to toxic e-waste

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/toxics/hi-tech-highly-toxic/company-report-card/

which companies are the best, and the worst, in terms of e-waste and how environmentally friendly their products are!

New Bike Racks!

10.22.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Earlier this week, as Professor Sue Mooney and one of her classes were out in the outskirts of the Stonehill campus, bike racks were found that were not being used. As the amount of bicycles on campus is increasing, the amount of space left on bike racks has been dwindling. People have restored to locking their bikes on trees, poles, and even table chairs. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to fix the problem. Therefore, two new bike racks have been placed at the front entrance of the Martin Institute and Roches Dining commons’ lower entrance. Take a look for yourself and use them to your advantage!

Happy Cycling, Stonehill!

Pumpkin Shortage

10.19.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

According to farmers around the country, there is a pumpkin shortage. Yet, it is nothing to alarm about. Pumpkins are still in stock in many supermarkets; they just may be a bit pricier. Because of the various hurricanes and the dramatic increase of heavy percipitation in the past year, it has severely affected the amount of pumpkins that are available for this exciting holiday.

Due to the heavy amount of rainfall, the growing season was delayed. After that problem was resolved, hurricanes (such as Irene) had a drastic affect on the amount of pumpkins. A fungus called “phytophthora” spread in many pumpkin patches and had a negative affect on growing rates.

Even though there is a pumpkin shortage this year, Halloween will not be canceled. It must go on but in the mean time, you can carve a fruit or vegetable such as making “squash-o-lanterns” or cant-o-lanterns! Another alternative would be to buy from a local vendor that may not have been affected by the storm & it would cost less!

Have a fun and safe Halloween, Skyhawks!
Source: The Week