Vanderbilt University commits to achieve zero-waste status by 2030

The university will implement a number of new recommendations to reduce waste. (Courtesy Fotolia)
The university will implement a number of new recommendations to reduce waste. (Courtesy Fotolia)

The university will implement a number of new recommendations to reduce waste. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Vanderbilt University announced Jan. 13 a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable over the next ten years.

Over the past several months, university administrators, staff, faculty and students have been working to provide recommendations for a long-term strategy to reduce emissions and become carbon-neutral by 2030. Actions included in the plan include ending single-plastic bottle sales by 2025 and expanding food waste collection to include all dining areas and residence halls.

“This plan embodies the triple bottom line: positive social, environmental and economic impact,” Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain said in a statement. “Education and research are essential to solving the world’s greatest challenges. We can commit to this goal knowing it is feasible because we remained committed to our mission by carrying out extensive studies and thorough research to establish a vision and plan backed up by data.”

The university has already eliminated plastic straws, provided free reusable water bottles to undergraduate students and begun offering more sustainable printing options.

While Vanderbilt officials said it is not technically possible to be completely waste-free, zero-waste status is typically defined as having a 90% diversion rate from landfills. The university has a 47% diversion rate at present

More on the university's zero waste master plan can be found here.
By Wendy Sturges

A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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