5R: A Waste Reduction Mantra
You know the "3 R's" — but what about 5R? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, Rebuy. These 5 "R's" represent a simple mantra to help guide a more sustainable lifestyle. Reducing our waste footprint is a priority at Stanford - while we divert a significant amount of waste, of the remaining waste that does goes to landfill, more than half could still be reused, recycled, or composted. This year, in conjunction with the February-March national RecycleMania competition, Stanford challenged all campus members to join the pledge to not just Recycle — but to strive to live by all 5Rs.
Become a 5R Champion
During the February-March campaign, students and staff across campus joined together to reduce Stanford's collective waste footprint. These 5R champions pledged to 5R and some even shared their stories in a photo. Several were recognized for their commitment to the 5Rs by being awarded gift cards. Here's how YOU can be a 5R champion year-round:
Step 1: Pledge to 5R
Commit to strive for all 5Rs by following these simple steps:
Reduce — Reduce the amount of waste you generate - Use less!
Reuse — Use reusable plates, cups, and utensils when possible.
Recycle — Recycle all cardboard, paper, plastics, metal and glass.
Rot — Compost all coffee grounds, food scraps, and BPI-certified serviceware.
Rebuy — Buy recycled or repurposed products when necessary and possible.
Step 2: Become a 5R Leader in Your Workplace
Open to staff and faculty only
Interested in learning more about how to reduce your waste impact and be a leader in your workplace? The Office of Sustainability's "How to 5R: Best Practices in Waste Reduction" training course provides a hands-on crash course. Available through STARS Open Access, class participants will learn how to recognize opportunities for improving waste reduction strategies through the 5Rs.
The RecycleMania Competition
Administered by Peninsula Sanitary Services, Inc. (PSSI), Buildings & Grounds Maintenance, and the Department of Sustainability and Energy Management, the RecycleMania competition involves Stanford reporting recycling and trash tonnage over an 8-week period and then being ranked amongst all participating colleges and universities. This year's competition goals included reengaging in our recycling commitment, increasing the landfill diversion rate, and improving Stanford's standing in the process.
With the 5R campaign coinciding with the national RecycleMania competition, we hoped to increase not only our recycling rates, but our overall waste diversion rate, as well - and we did! Stanford's waste diversion rate showed an increase from last year's and, overall, our waste reduction efforts resulted in 1,968 metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions - that's like taking nearly 400 cars off the road! You can check out the sidebar to the right for final rankings and past years' results.
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