In keeping with its responsibility as a steward of our precious natural environment, Mount St. Mary's College is committed to becoming environmentally responsible in the use of energy and resources and in the generation and disposal of waste.
The College is committed to living and acting sustainably. Attention to living sustainably requires us to actively be aware of the environmental, social and economic needs of our present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Practicing environmental responsibility is a process of continual movement toward greater awareness. We invite you to explore this page for more information on the ways Mount St. Mary's College is currently working to live in and educate an environmentally responsible community.
The Mount continues to aggressively pursued a green products program for our cleaning needs and we have been using Green Seal Certified products for some time now.
As part of this program, we employ a 3M certified chemical management system which includes glass cleaner, general purpose cleaner, and neutral floor cleaner. In addition, the paper products that The Mount uses come from a rapidly renewable resource. Unisource, our supplier, provides paper which comes from eucalyptus and acacia trees which only take 10 years to grow. The trash liners are made from recycled post consumer waste. The majority of products that we use for cleaning are manufactured in plants that follow green manufacturing standards (i.e. United Receptacle and Johnsons Wax.
Our All Star equipment is also Green Seal Certified. The machines meet and exceed indoor air quality standards. All the floor pads and hand pads used for cleaning are made from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, most of the hand soap on campus is Green Seal Certified. This means that the soap contains no dyes or fragrances. The Mount has instituted the new Airworks 60 program which will eliminate the aerosol products that have been used in the past. We encourage you to support this effort by purchasing personal products for your cleaning needs which support a sustainable environment. In the near future, we will provide a link to products which are readily available at your local stores.
Lisa Melou, our Sustainability Coordinator, will be organizing our MSMC Sustainability Committee over the next few months. We expect to have representation from all areas of the Mount community. The committee will help to organize activities which involve faculty, staff and the student body in campus events and community events to further the culture of sustainability at the Mount.
Over the past few years, thanks to the generous support received for our recent capital campaign, almost all the classrooms at the Doheny and Chalon Campus feature energy efficient lighting with light sensing technology and motion detectors to turn lights off when the classrooms are empty. As the Facilities Department continues to inventory equipment and fixtures and implement campus-wide energy management systems, we expect great energy savings.
Mount St. Mary's College food service provider, Bon Appetit Management Company, stresses local sourcing of food by contracting with local farmers whenever possible. On average, food travels 1,500 miles to ones plate; not at Mount St. Mary's College. Enormous savings in gasoline for food transport are realized through this policy, which also supports small, local farms. The purchase of local foods be it produce, meat, seafood, or cheese supports sustainable regional economies and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on long distance food transportation. Bon Appetit is also encouraging the use of reusable/washable plates. Take-out cartons are made from biodegradable polymers not Styrofoam. The College has also traded the use of plastic forks and spoons to ones based on potato starch (spudware) that biodegrade over time. New this semester, Styrofoam containers will be replaced entirely with bagasse containers made from sugar cane fibers that are biodegradable over time. The College still strongly supports your use of regular china and flatware which can be washed numerous times and cleaned in our state-of-the-art dishwashing equipment (opti-rinse machine uses 50% less water and 50% less energy) with high-velocity spouts for most efficient cleaning and sanitizing.
Biodiesel is a clean burning, renewable alternative fuel produced from animal fats or vegetable oils, including recycled cooking oils. Using biodiesel fuel in place of petroleum reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 78 percent. A portion of the used cooking oil from our cafes is recycled for this purpose.
The College is carrying out the first phase of a greenhouse gas inventory, focusing on our usage of electricity and water and the use of combustible fuels on campus. We are also implementing transportation studies to mitigate the costs of commuting to and from the workplace and between campuses.
The College uses approximately 800 reams of paper each month, for a total of more than 13,000 sheets per day or 4.8 million sheets annually at an expense of more than $30,000. Given that it takes at least 12 trees to create a ton of paper (see www.conservatree.com), the Mount collectively uses more than 288 trees worth of paper annually.
We are initiating a strong recycling program this semester which will involve paper, plastic and aluminum products. Paper recycling is vital to preserving forests. The College will be providing an extensive array of recycling containers throughout both campuses and in all offices. The College is also committed to recycling many other reusable items, including glass, metals, cardboard, batteries, computers and printer cartridges, etc.
A person driving a typical distance by car each year produces essentially the weight of the vehicle in carbon emissions (approx. 2,500 lbs for a compact car, approx. 4,000 lbs for a midsize SUV, and approx. 8,000 lbs for a large SUV).
Our transportation department is currently in the process of obtaining information from faculty and staff which allow us to create a program which combines ride-share, van pool, public transportation vouchers, and a Zip Car program at our campuses which will allow for emergency or convenience access for van pool or car pool users. Some solutions can save up to $1,500 annually for our commuters.
We encourage you to compute your own carbon footprint by going to the following link and then read examples of how you can reduce your own footprint: http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/.