Agnes Scott Now Diverts 73% of Waste from Landfills

Friday, November 18, 2011

Agnes Scott College now diverts 73 percent of its waste, which would otherwise have gone into landfills, through recycling and composting.

SustainabilityThat’s a sizable increase from the college’s 65 percent diversion rate last year.

Agnes Scott introduced several new sustainability initiatives in recent years, such as tray-less dining and reusable take-out containers, but this year focused on reducing contamination and educating the campus community about maximizing the effectiveness of the programs.

“I think the longer these programs are in place, the more they become a part of our campus culture,” said Justine Schwartz ’10, sustainability fellow at Agnes Scott. “This summer we worked on a ‘zero waste’ strategy to tackle bigger projects, like composting at small events and increasing recycling at big events, creating new signs to clarify what can be recycled and composted and working hard to reduce contamination across campus.”

The college diverted 28 percent of its waste in 2008, just before it created a single-stream recycling program that allowed students to put all materials to be recycled into one container. In addition to recycling and composting, the college also teams with TerraCycle to recycle chip bags and candy and cookie wrappers on campus. TerraCycle then transforms the wrappers into a variety of products, such as tote bags and toys.

Recycling and composting, part of the college’s goal to move closer to producing zero waste, are also part of a much wider strategy to reduce Agnes Scott’s environmental impact. In 2010, the college completed a comprehensive, long-term Climate Action Plan, part of a commitment made with about 650 other colleges and universities all over the country that signed onto the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in order to reduce their impact on the environment. Agnes Scott’s CAP outlines strategies and five-year targets designed to achieve “climate neutrality” in time for its 150th anniversary in 2039.

To learn more about sustainability initiatives at Agnes Scott College, visit

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.