Sustainability and Stewardship | Albright College

Sustainability and Stewardship

The Committee for Sustainability and Stewardship was created by the President to initiate and support environmental policies, actions and programs at Albright College and to ensure that environmental concerns are considered in all aspects of the College’s decision making. Our mission is to determine how to improve energy conservation, address environmental issues on campus and educate students, faculty and staff on the importance of environmental consciousness.

Albright College is committed to sustainability as a way of life.

Trex Recycling Challenge

Albright College recycles plastic film and bags that Trex uses to make eco-friendly composite decks.
Once a year we participate in the Trex Recycling Challenge where we collect over 500 pounds of plastic film and bags, within a 6 month period, and then Trex donates a composite bench to our school.
Our next challenge runs August 30, 2021 – February 27, 2022.

What can be recycled?
• Grocery bags
• Bread bags
• Case overwrap
• Dry cleaning bags
• Newspaper sleeves
• Ice bags
• Wood pellet bags
• Ziplock and other reclosable bags
• Produce bags
• Bubble wrap
• Salt bags
• Cereal bags
All plastic must be clean, dry and free of food residue.

Even when we are not participating in the challenge, the plastic film and bags are collected and dropped off at the Weis Markets’ plastic bag recycling receptacles.

Collection bins are located in:

  • Masters Hall, 1st floor near women’s restroom
  • Science Center, main lobby
  • Student Center, information desk
  • Schumo Center, front reception desk
  • Camp Building, 2nd floor
  • Roessner Hall, 2nd floor near kitchen
  • Center for the Arts, 1st floor near the theatre offices/break room suite

Always remember to use reusable bags whenever possible.
Help keep plastic bags and film out of the environment and place them in the Trex bins.

 

Albright College has partnered with Evolution Energy Partners (EEP) to upgrade lighting, campus-wide, to LED fixtures and lights. This project will have three important outcomes:

  1. Our monthly energy costs will be significantly reduced, for a total annual savings exceeding $206,000.
  2. Lighting levels will be improved for enhanced productivity and safety.
  3. Most importantly, implementing this project will reduce the college’s carbon footprint by more than 3.4 million pounds of CO2 annually.This upgrade will be accomplished at no upfront cost to the college. EEP secured over $85,000 in utility rebates and grants and this financial structure produces more than $38,000 in net annual positive cash flow during the finance term.Albright replaces outdated lighting with compact fluorescents whenever possible.

Abright installed motion sensors in selected locations to turn lights off when rooms are not in use.

Facilities is eliminating older T12 lighting and improving lighting with T8 lamps with electronic ballasts, thus using less wattage per room.

Facilities works to keep heating and cooling equipment at peak performance for energy savings. As older equipment is retired, it is replaced with state-of-the-art energy efficient equipment.

The campus Energy Management Controls System allows for monitoring and set-back of space temperatures, allowing a reduction in consumption.

Conventional flush valves in toilets are being replaced wherever possible with water-saving sensors.


Trash and Recycling Process
The main trash and recycling receptacles in each building are placed together in central and convenient locations on each floor. Faculty and staff are responsible for taking the recycling and trash containers in their offices and emptying them into these central receptacles each day. Facilities collects and transports trash and recycled materials from classrooms and other public spaces to both the central receptacles and outside the buildings.

What are the benefits of this process?

  1. We are improving efficiencies that have a direct result on the labor shortage in the facilities department. Facilities saves 16 hours of labor per week that go towards the grounds crew focusing more attention on campus beautification and the custodial team providing more thorough and detailed cleaning in the buildings.
  2. Highlights the importance of recycling by helping the College move toward an eventual goal of zero waste. Eliminates the need for a gas-powered utility vehicle, currently used by the grounds crew, to make separate trash and recycling runs. Eliminating the use of this vehicle ultimately decrease our carbon footprint on campus. Questions, email CSS@albright.edu.

The Science Center is LEED certified and designed to be both friendly to the environment and to faculty and students who collaborate and share instrumentation across disciplines.


Zero Waste Initiatives

  • Take notes electronically
  • Take screen shots of important information and store in electronic folders
  • Ask vendors to send PDF quotes and invoices instead of paper files
  • Use reusable bags/totes
  • Use refillable water bottles and coffee cups
  • Recycle
  • Compost
  • Use only what you need
  • Use non disposable dishes and silverware instead of paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Use cloth dish towels instead of paper towels
  • Buy and donate used clothes, furniture and household products
  • Go digital
  • Be an environmental bookworm: rent your books or buy used; read eBooks
  • Use less paper
  • Opt for email receipts
  • Receive and pay bills online
  • Reuse gift bags
  • Save vegetable scraps for stock
  • Carpool

Albright Uses Single-Stream Recycling
Single-stream recycling allows us to place all metal, glass, mixed paper, cardboard and plastics in one container. There is no need to separate since the single-stream recycling process allows all recyclables to be mixed together. All containers must be empty, rinsed or wiped clean of food and beverage items.

Acceptable Recyclable Materials:


Metal: aluminum cans; steel cans; tin cans; foil packaging; aluminum trays, plates and foil; empty aerosol cans; labels are ok; no scrap metal


Glass:
clear and colored glass bottles; clear and colored glass jars; clean beverage containers; labels are ok; no dishes or ceramic


Mixed Paper:
newspaper; magazines; mail; phone books; computer paper; flyers; wrapping paper (no foil or plastic wrap); white and colored paper; catalogs; soft-cover books; paper bags; shredded paper; if it tears, it’s recyclable; staples, tape and labels are ok; no paper plates, cups or napkins


Cardboard: corrugated cardboard and boxboard packaging


Plastic Containers: containers made from plastics #1-7; plastic bottles and jugs; blisterpaks; labels are ok; no filmy plastic bags, plastic wrappers or styrofoam, even if marked as #6

Unacceptable Materials: ceramics, dishes, coffee cups, drinking glasses, glass oven ware, pyrex, VisionWare, window glass, mirrors, light bulbs, plastics without #1-7 labeling, plastic bags, styrofoam, bubble wrap, tissue or paper towels, wax paper, metallic or coated paper, waxed boxes and toys. No food or drink allowed.


We reprocess motor oil and antifreeze per EPA guidelines.


Armory RecycleWe recycled a whole building! Well, 95 percent of it… The long vacant former Reading Army Reserve Center, deeded to the college by the Department of the Army through the City of Reading was demolished in 2009. The college remediated materials from the building’s interior for clean fill. Brick, mortar and concrete products were pulverized to aggregate for leveling the site instead of trucking the debris to a land fill.

Stone and various building materials are recycled and/or reused on campus. We recycled over twenty tons of modified stone during the Shirk Stadium turf drainage project. The stone was redistributed to stone parking lots and storage for future use. The excavated subsoil removed from the Science Center construction site was used for land redevelopment elsewhere on campus eliminating the need to transport soil back and forth to campus.

Albright uses Green Seal Certified cleaning products that are formulated with less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so they are less toxic to people and the environment. Our cleaning solutions are hydrogen peroxide and citric acid based. We use microfiber technology for mopping and wiping which reduces the work for staff and our usage of cleaning solutions.

Campus outdoor signage hung from posts are made from recycled post-consumer plastics.

Carpet tile is made of recycled material. When worn, it’s shipped back to the factory to be recycled rather than disposed of in a land fill. We use an adhesive that allows for the any damaged pieces to be easily lifted and replaced. Campus flooring is made of 45 percent post-consumer recycled fiber which means it uses about 45 percent less material than virgin timber.

All paper products are made with recycled fiber.

Albright is known for its lovely, green campus, lush with abundant trees and flowering plants and shrubs. Maintaining outdoor green spaces is important. An outdoor switchgear enclosure was redesigned to be incorporated into an existing structure in order to maintain an outdoor green area. Mulch and grass clippings are reused as organic feed matter for turf areas instead of going into landfill waste. Conservative drip irrigation systems have been installed in place of pop-up systems, reducing water consumption. Drought tolerant plant selections, “zero-scape” planting and low maintenance selections such as ornamental grasses and native plants, reduces water, nutrient and maintenance needs. Frequent over-seeding programs are used rather than incorporating heavy fertilizer and herbicide applications. We over-seed regularly to promote healthy stands. We also tolerate a few more weeds on areas not used for sports which lowers chemical and fertilizer applications. All herbicides, grounds chemicals and landscape materials are disposed of per EPA guidelines.

Albright uses low emissions equipment (compliant with Environmental Protection Agencies {EPA} Phase II emissions standard, January 2005) such as push mowers, string trimmers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and weed whackers. All equipment uses “low e” small engines where applicable.

BeesWhen a huge hive of bees was found under the eaves of White Chapel, Albright called an expert to capture and relocate the bees to his own hives. Now our honeybee relocation process relocates valuable honey bee colonies as they are found around campus. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies track and monitor pests and diseases, thus reducing applications of pesticides and herbicides. Removal of litter and debris daily reduces the need for extensive rodent and pest control programs.

To encourage more student bikes on campus, we installed 12 bike racks and educate and encourage students to ride to class as an alternative to driving. View the Campus Bike Rack Map. Utility vehicles are alternatives to pick-up trucks; three smaller, fuel efficient carts are used daily to transport employees and materials around campus.

The Dining Hall Recycles Cooking Oil.The oil is pumped from the fryers to a truck which transports the oil to a facility where it is cleaned and then converted into biofuel. The biofuel is then sold for use as diesel fuel and heating oil. Biofuel is renewable and clean-burning.

Biodiesel has several environmental benefits when compared to petroleum-based diesel fuel. It reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by 86 percent. It lowers particulate matter by 47 percent, reduces smog and makes our air healthier to breathe. It reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 67 percent. For every unit of fossil energy it takes to produce biodiesel, 3.5 units of renewable energy are returned, the best of any U.S. fuel

Here are a few other ways our food service department is sustainable:

  • In 2007, Albright was one of the first colleges to eliminate trays in the dining hall reducing water consumption from washing trays.
  • Energy efficient equipment is used instead of equipment that uses non-renewable resources such as gas.
  • Nearly 100 percent compostable paper products are used in the dining hall, Grab and Go, Jake’s Java and Jake’s Place.
  • A majority of the bottled water systems throughout campus have been converted to filtrated water dispensers. This helps to reduce the number of delivery trucks on campus along with the number of plastic bottles.
  • Albright works with many local companies such as Wegman’s Poultry, Turkey Hill Dairy, Maier’s bakery, ATV Bakery, Instant Whip, Clover Farms, Berks Packing, 4 Seasons Produce and many others.
  • Food services trades with companies that use sound sustainability practices, for example Wegman’s Poultry is raised without hormones and antibiotics, is grain fed, and local with less than 50 miles of total transportation involved.
  • Coffee grounds from Jake’s Java coffee bar are recycled into our community herb garden.
  • Albright College was one of the first colleges to use Green Chemicals APEX for all ware washing, pots and pans, pre-wash and sanitized rinse agents.
  • Implemented practices that reduced the run time on the dishwasher by two hours per day.
  • Minimizes food waste with portion control on the food lines and batch cooking techniques in the kitchen. A value-added purchasing program stabilizes spikes in the commodity market and eliminates significant food waste.

ECO is the student-run environmental club at Albright College. Their mission is to increase awareness among the college community about the wide range of environmental issues facing our world today.

Activities have included:

  • Hosted a screening of the documentary YERT directed by Mark Dixon
  • Helped to start the Albright Community Garden located next to the Geiser House. Albright Community Garden Blog
  • Hosted a screening of Gasland, directed by Josh Fox. A film chronicling the impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the United States
  • Volunteered at the local state park, Nolde Forest
  • Visiting the annual PA Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival
  • Attending Powershift in Washington D.C., an event which brings environmental leaders from around the country together to discuss how to mobilize a growing environmental movement
  • Group trip to see The Lorax in theaters

ECO continues to strive to do more on campus and is open to any persons or organizations that would like to help make Albright greener. They may be contacted by email at eco@albright.edu.