Thursday, December 3, 2009

Colgate Takes First Swing at RecycleMania

This year, Colgate will compete in our first national RecycleMania competition. Colgate will be ranked in comparison to other participating institutions based on the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the greatest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, and the overall highest recycling rate.

If you are interested in becoming a RecycleManiac, you can contact Colgate's Sustainability Coordinator, John Pumilio (, and I'll add you to the team. We'll meet weekly during the ten weeks of RecycleMania (Jan-Mar) and plan informational events and take action to improve our campus recycling rates!

Paper or Plastic? Neither!

Which is more environmentally friendly: paper bags or plastic bags?

Inherently, you might assume that paper is better because it is made of wood which can be renewable and can breakdown into benign substances. However, material consumption, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions are all higher when we use paper bags instead of plastic bags. We also know that plastic is made from fossil fuels and is a harmful and persistent pollutant to our environment. In short, plastic bags are nasty.

So, what options do we have? Reusable tote bags offer a good option and is a preferred option! This year, every first year Colgate student received a reusable tote with their class logo along with information regarding the environmental benefits of using their totes over disposable plastic bags.

Click here to see a side-by-side life-cycle comparison of different types of bags. You might be surprised by what you see!

Planet better off if Copenhagen fails?

According to Jim Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the world would be better off if the climate talks in Copenhagen fail.

Hansen is fundamentally opposed to carbon trading. He stated that, "the whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation." Hansen went on to explain, "This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill," he said. "On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50 percent or reduce it 40 percent."

What do you think? Is a globally binding agreement that focuses on a cap-and-trade system a half measure? Or, is it our best chance to begin the process of actually reducing emissions?

Click here to read the full Reuters article.