AI News, Stanford remains committed to zero-waste goal despite shakeup in the global recycling industry

Stanford remains committed to zero-waste goal despite shakeup in the global recycling industry

In his address to the Academic Council last spring, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced Stanford’s goal to become a zero-waste campus by 2030.

The announcement came just months after the biggest shakeup in the global recycling industry in recent memory, which threatened years of sustainability progress on campus.

But thanks to good recycling habits, infrastructure enhancements and development of a sound strategy to reach zero waste, the university is weathering the storm and remains on track to hit its goal.

Major initiatives like recycling, composting, waste minimization training, and the My Cardinal Green engagement program have helped the university dramatically reduce the amount of material it sends to landfills.

Last summer, officials in China notified the World Trade Organization that the country would ban the import of 24 types of recyclable waste products, citing health and environmental concerns.

Other international waste markets – including those in Vietnam and Indonesia – were suddenly inundated with new business, but quickly became overwhelmed and were forced to turn away customers and brokers wanting to sell materials.

The result is cleaner paper products that would otherwise be contaminated if mixed with those items, as is what happens in a single-stream system, which was practiced by most of the country before the ban, including the cities of Palo Alto and San Francisco.

Stanford’s goal of achieving zero waste by 2030 offers the opportunity to make significant progress in multiple frontiers.” Until then, the Offfice of Sustainability and its partners offer a number of resources for the campus community.

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