Standing on central campus armed with prizes and friendly smiles, members of the Compost Crew, the waste management branch of the Sustainability Service Corps, stopped passing Yale students to find out what they knew about recycling. The event, held on November 15th, America Recycle Day, was an opportunity for the Compost Crew to gain a sense of students’ recycling savvy and also educate students in a fun, informal context.
Remember the days when buying milk meant meeting the milkman at your front door and exchanging smiles and pleasantries as you made your purchase? You probably don’t. For most young people today, this style of milk buying seems an ancient practice, but that generation seems to be getting increasingly more nostalgic for it. Want proof? Just talk to Tyler and Julie Hale.
Successfully meeting the challenge set by its Sustainability Action Plan, the Yale School of Management (SOM) decreased its paper use by 19 percent—more than any other Yale graduate or professional school—between the 09-10 and 11-12 academic years. SOM accomplished its goal even as its population increased by six percent. Students, faculty, and staff collaborated on this effort, led by the SOM Student Sustainability Group, the SOM Student Government, and Acting Chief Administrative Officer Richard Bascom, co-recipient of the 2012 Yale Sustainability Achievement Award.
What would you do to promote recycling? Make a poster? Wear a green t-shirt? Maddy Yozwiak ’14 dressed up as Captain Planet during her senior year of high school. “I had lost all sense of shame,” Yozwiak said at a recent TedxYale conference, remembering how futile her efforts to promote sustainability seemed at the time. “No matter how we talked about climate change, no matter what we did, [my school’s Environmental Awareness Club] never had more than five people at our meetings… No one cared. I didn’t know what else to do besides don some gold tights, make a cape out of one of my mom’s towels, and try to get the word out one last time.
The Yale Provost’s Office, based in New Haven, Connecticut, recently commissioned a new conference table and credenza. This isn’t any old conference table though, it is particularly sustainable: made from local trees and built by a company that recycles urban trees to make furniture. As they do with each of their clients, the City Bench team began the process by meeting with planners from the Provost’s Office to generate ideas for the conference table’s design. They considered the office environment the table would be located in and the other furniture in the office. Their final product, made of salvaged elm and beech, matched a conference table found downstairs in the building.