ASU's sustainability headquarters goes zero waste

zero-waste-wrigley-sustainabilityby Alex Slaymaker, Master's of Sustainable Solutions The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is now equipped with a system capable of achieving zero waste, defined as 90 percent diversion from landfills.  The system offers the option of recycling, composting, TerraCycling, plastic film and bag recycling, and landfilling "waste" - a term now nullified as all materials diverted from the landfill are valuable resources. This seemingly complex five-option system is viewed as standard in many countries around the world, including Germany and Japan. The opportunity to practice what is preached at the sustainability headquarters of ASU requires students, staff and faculty to learn how to properly use the zero waste system. In order for Wrigley Hall inhabitants and visitors to see these bins as empowering rather than overwhelming, graduate student zero waste advocates held a Zero Waste Kick-Off Party on April 9. The celebration on the first floor of Wrigley Hall helped to raise awareness about the new zero waste pilot, eliminate myths about "waste" and educate on proper diversion practices. Change-makers participating in the event not only received additional knowledge, but also delicious appetizers, reusable titanium sporks and t-shirts. In the spirit of zero waste, the t-shirts were made from 100% post-consumer recycled content. Inspired by the event, many attendees wrote pledges about how they were going to reduce their negative impact on the environment. Wrigley Hall's zero waste pilot program utilizes a rapid research approach, constantly iterating based on verbal feedback, observed behavior and waste audits. A refined and improved zero waste program model will inform the strategic spread of this comprehensive zero waste system across campus in the next few years. President Michael Crow's steadfast zero waste commitment, ASU Recycling's leadership, student passion and a large number of supporters from across campus are all working together to update the paradigm of the "infinity bin," or landfill bin, to a recognition of waste as a valuable resource. Every sun devil has a critical part to play in this effort to go zero waste. Have feedback about the program in Wrigley? Email Alex Slaymaker. Comments or questions about bringing these programs to your building? Please contact ASU Recycling. Note: Diversion rules on campus may be different from those of your municipality. Hop online and ask Google for clarification about your city's program.