The best place to start is with the 3 Rs that you know so well: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reducing the amount of waste you generate often starts with thinking about how to be intentional about decreasing the amount of things you buy
How can you create less waste by reusing things a second or third time? There are countless ways, both basic and complex, to repurpose items. Rather than ditching an old coffee mug, could you instead use it as a pencil holder or a vase. You can also pass it on for someone else to use by donating it to a local consignment or thrift store, such as the Minvera Arts Center in Williamstown or Goodwill in North Adams. Clothing (only) can be donated to ABC through the drop-off location on the 1st floor of Paresky.
Recycling Centers across the country vary in what they accept. Just as you are getting used to your new single-stream recycling at home, then you come to college where our Recycling Center needs items to be sorted and they accept different things. (Or if you are a faculty or staff who live in Williamstown or North Adams, you’ll see that recycling guidelines are different at home and at Williams.) Check out the Williams Recycling Guide for a comprehensive list of what is and what isn’t recyclable.
At the end of the school year, students have the opportunity to donate unwanted items to local charities and non-profits – and in the process divert items from the trash. What items can be donated? Glad you asked. Here’s the list. Through Give it Up (GIU) storage pods are set-up next to each dorm and students just take down whatever they would like to pass on. Also set up next to these storage pods are extra dish return bins and containers for electronic waste. Read GIU intern Sammi Stone’s ’17 explanation of the program.
A group that works to decrease waste and improve recycling and composting on campus. This group meets monthly.
A student group that focuses on environmental activism and awareness. For more information about meetings and to join the listserv, visit their webpage on GreenEphs.
WRAPS (Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus)
WRAPS packages and delivers surplus dining hall food to the communities in and around Williamstown facing food insecurity, including Mohawk Forest and Brayton Hill Apartments in North Adams.
Of course, since we’re at a college, there are always opportunities to write a paper or do a project that will further our goals to reduce waste and to increase recycling. Look for these opportunities in your classes and share your findings/final project with us and we’ll add it to our student projects page on the sustainability website.