Our Zero-Waste Commitment

What made Homecoming a Zero-Waste success

During Homecoming week and Summer Reunion weekend, Waste Ambassadors from the Recycling Center and the Office of Sustainability set up Recycling, Compost and Landfill bins at major events, such as Block Party and BereaFEST at Homecoming, and the Picnic on the Quad at Summer Reunion. Students then compared the weights of recycling and compost against the trash to determine the total percentage of waste that we were able to divert from the landfill.

Since 2017, the Alumni Relations team has committed to making each alumni event a zero-waste event. The Office of Sustainability confirmed that Homecoming 2017, a multi-day zero-waste event, was the first of its kind in Kentucky. In April 2018, Alumni Relations was presented with a Zero-Waste Certified plaque from the Office of Sustainability. 

Sustainability coordinator Joan Pauly, right, presents a Zero-Waste Certified plaque to the Alumni Relations team in April 2018. Pictured from left is Caroline Arthur '16, Kristin Dalessio '06, Jackie Collier '80, Lisa Colletti-Jones and Crystal Wylie '05

Zero-Waste takes
almost zero effort

  1. Be one of the first 100 to register for Homecoming and pick up your free Berea College Zero-Waste Homecoming reusable water bottle.
  2. Catch a ride with a fellow Berean and make arrangements to carpool back home to Berea.
  3. Before you leave campus, don’t forget to recycle your plastic name tag holder in one of the name tag recycling boxes around campus so we can use them again next year!
  4. Pull up the schedule on your smart device from our website — we will not be printing schedules this year to further reduce our waste.

What does it mean to be a Zero-Waste event?

We define Zero Waste as diverting 90% of waste from the landfill. We are able to do that at Berea College by having an on-site recycling center and an on-site composting location.

–  All the recycling and compost we collect is weighed and incorporated into a yearly total to be compared against the amount of trash collected that goes to a landfill. Last year, we came close to a 60% diversion rate, meaning we were able to recycle or compost 60% of the waste produced by all of campus. Our goal is to reach 90% diversion for all of campus, and making Zero-Waste events the norm will greatly help to achieve this goal.

–  At events we have Recycling, Compost, and Landfill bins with signage that shows what can be accepted in each category.

–  We have Waste Ambassadors from the Recycling Center and the Office of Sustainability who “Talk Trash” with event attendees: that is, they are there to maintain the integrity of the compost and recycling, since we are held to high standards in those categories.

–  For compost especially, we have Certified Organic standards at the Greenhouses, which is where the compost is taken. Plates, cups, and napkins that will break down in that compost have to be specially ordered.

LEARN MORE about our sustainability efforts at Berea College.

Did you

In 2014, Berea College hosted Kentucky’s first carbon-neutral basketball game. The carbon footprint of the basketball game was calculated based on the electricity used at the gymnasium during the game and the transportation of the opposing team to Berea’s facilities. Read more…