Managing Waste and Improving Resource Efficiency
Facilities Management coordinates disposal of all types of waste on campus. These include the recycling and composting programs and the management of regulated waste.
The New School currently offers a three-bin system for collection of landfill waste; paper and cardboard; and mixed recycling (metal, glass, and plastic).
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In spring 2011, Facilities Management expanded the recycling program by beginning to replace existing signs with new ones that have clear illustrations and by increasing the number of classrooms that have recycling signs and separate bins for landfill waste, paper, and mixed recyclables.
Members of the New School community can recycle batteries by putting them in the blue tubes located around campus. Visit the Environmental Health and Safety web page for more information.
The New School now offers an expanded compost program. This reduces the amount of waste being landfilled. Food scraps collected on campus are picked up by our waste hauler who takes them to a commercial composting facility, where they decompose into nutrient-rich crumbly material. The finished compost, or humus, is used to improve soil and provides essential nutrients to plants when added to gardens.
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In spring 2011, Facilities Management expanded the composting program. Collection of food waste is now available in the following locations:
- 13th Street Residence Cafeteria
- Eugene Lang, 65 West 11th Street, Lang Café
- Parsons East, 25 East 13th Street, floors 2, 3, 4, and 5
- Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, Café 55 and Library Café
For information on other composting initiatives in New York City, visit the New York City Compost Project website.
Electronic waste (e-waste) contains hazardous materials, especially mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. To protect the environment, regulatory agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation now require that e-waste be recycled. Equipment that must be recycled includes computers, monitors, keyboards, pointing devices, printers, phones, cameras, radios, televisions, etc.
The New School has updated our e-waste recycling to ensure that we are following global standards, for example, not exporting waste to developing countries for disposal. Our e-waste is donated for reuse to approved nonprofit organizations or disposed of by our e-Stewards certified recycler.
To dispose of unwanted electronic equipment, contact the Help Desk at 212.229.5300 x2828. The university also holds e-waste collection events on campus in December and May open to the entire New School community and simultaneously with moving-out activities in all residence halls.
It is estimated that 13 toner cartridges are discarded in the U.S. each second. These days, it's very easy to recycle these plastic cases. At The New School, any office receiving a delivery from office supplies vendor W.B. Mason can give the delivery person used toner cartridges to be recycled. Offices are encouraged to designate a central location to collect old cartridges.
The larger toner cartridges that our network printers (i.e. Konica) use come with mail-back labels. Please affix these labels to the box the new toner cartridge came in and send it to the Mailroom in Arnhold Hall.
Of course, a good way to reduce your office's use of these cartridges is to set your computer to print double-sided.
Waste Minimization Plan
Integral to successful waste management are minimization strategies for each waste stream. To manage waste and improve resource efficiency, The New School
- Purchases office paper containing 100 percent post-consumer content
- Prints on recycled-content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper using FSC-certified venders
- Purchases 100 percent recycled-content toilet paper for the entire campus
- Purchases napkins with a minimum of 30 percent recycled content
- Purchases food that is grown or raised locally (Twenty-five percent of the university's food budget is spent on such food.)
- Provides only biodegradable (compostable) dishware including take-out packaging, coffee cups, and utensils
- Encourages the use of reusable bottles and tap water by banning the sale of bottled water on campus; find water bottle filling station (PDF) locations around campus.
- Uses filtered tap water rather than rented water coolers in offices.
- Offers a discount ($0.99/cup of coffee) in campus cafés when a reusable mug is used
- Substitutes cardboard boxes with reusable plastic crates for internal relocations
- Collects unwanted clothing, food, and electronics at moving-out events in residence halls and then donates or recycles collected items
All bowls, cups, napkins, plates, sushi containers, to-go containers, and utensils used on campus are compostable. Discard them in the designated compost bins in each location.
All food service kitchens on campus also collect food scraps for compost and untreated sawdust is collected from the wood shop at Parsons East.
Since spring 2011, the Parsons Green Supply Center and the Green List have been helping The New School reduce waste on campus.
The goal of the Parsons Green Supply Center (PGSC) is to find creative ways to reuse waste streams. PGSC keeps reusable materials-plywood and solid wood off-cuts, discarded metal, fabric remnants, furniture, electronics, and others-out of landfills by housing them and making them available, without cost or limit, to students, faculty, and staff. The simple collection/redistribution loop exemplifies The New School's commitment to integrating sustainable practices into all areas and to promoting ecological literacy among students, faculty, and staff. Visit the Parsons Green Supply Center at 2 West 13th Street, 4th floor, or online.
The Green List
The Green List is a place for all students and faculty at The New School to buy, sell, and trade art supplies, textbooks, clothing, and other school items directly with each other. In the same way that commercial online classified advertising sites work, users can upload details and images of their wares to the Green List and interested parties can respond online.
The university’s plans for the future include the following:
- Pursue new strategies to reduce even further New School waste sent to landfills
- Institute a policy that all paper products, including tissues, notepads, and paper towels, must have at least 30 percent recycled content
- Continue reducing the number of delivery cycles of products throughout the university and request reduced packaging from suppliers
Benchmarking The New School’s Waste
In fall 2009, Facilities Management hired consultant Great Forest to audit the university's waste streams. Observations from the study are described below:
- The current campus diversion rate—calculated as total recyclables by weight over the total weight of trash plus recyclables—is 23 percent.
- The diversion rate in academic buildings is 24 percent.
- The diversion rate in residence halls is 20 percent.
- The academic buildings with the lowest diversion rates were the Schwartz Fashion Center, 560 Seventh Avenue (7.24 percent) and the Albert and Vera List Academic Center, 79 Fifth Avenue (16.95 percent).
- The academic buildings with the highest diversion rates were Parsons East, 25 East 13th Street (31.89 percent) and the Johnson/Kaplan Hall complex, 66 West 12th Street/65 West 11th Street (37.79 percent).
- The residence hall with the highest diversion rate was the 13th Street Residence, (28.05 percent).
- The residence hall with the lowest diversion rate was Stuyvesant Park (14.69 percent).
- Campus-wide "trash" included only 42 percent trash. The rest was made up of 28 percent compostable materials, 21 percent mixed paper, and 9 percent glass, metal, and plastic bottles.
- The predominant materials in the “trash” were paper coffee cups from outside vendors, plastic bags, paper bags, and take-out food containers.
- Campus-wide the recycling stream was very clean, with only 13 percent contamination in the “mixed” (glass, metal, plastic) stream and 4 percent contamination in the paper stream.
- In the residence halls, the “mixed” stream had a higher percentage of “trash” in it as compared to the rest of the campus.
- In dining facilities, 70 percent of the “trash” was made up of compostable materials.