According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American generates 4.6 lbs of waste per person per day 1.5 lbs of which are either recycled or composted. In comparison, each member of the St. Lawrence community is responsible for the generation of about 7.4 lbs of waste per day, 1.4 lbs of which are recycled.
While it seems clear that we need to be putting greater efforts into waste reduction, St. Lawrence tries to keep the three Rs in mind-Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. New York State Law (GML 120-aa) “requires the source separation and segregation of recyclable or reusable materials from solid waste.” St. Lawrence University is breaking the law when we don't recycle.
Working to reduce quantities of highly used goods such as paper and food not only decreases the total amount of waste generated at St. Lawrence it also decreases energy and resources used in production of those items (http://www.storyofstuff.com/). St. Lawrence’s pay for print initiative helps reduce paper waste and removing trays from the dining hall helps reduce food waste.
A student-run thrift store, the Barn Good Thrift Store, works to keep usable items out of the dumpster and find them a new home. This initiative, focused on reusing goods instead of purchasing new, is very popular when students return in the fall looking for dorm room items.
St. Lawrence has a fairly steady recycling rate, 21-26% of our waste stream each year. Recycling rooms are attached to all residence halls and the University community is encouraged to properly deposit their recyclables in classrooms and common spaces. In addition to typical recyclable materials (paper, plastic, metal, cardboard) St. Lawrence also recycles batteries, ink/toner cartridges and compact florescent light bulbs.