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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

EVS 300


Environmental Science and Policy


Paulette Peckol and Gregory White


Humans and Smithies specifically, are incredibly wasteful. Throwing things in the garbage is an afterthought in the daily life of a college student. In attempting to make Smith College more sustainable I had the idea to become a Zero Waste campus as waste is a sign of inefficiency and a lack of sustainable practices. As I researched, interviewed people, and conducted unofficial surveys of students I came to find that not only was Zero Waste impossible at Smith, but that as a group we need to learn to crawl before we can walk. That is to say, in my opinion people need to take more care in reducing, reusing, and recycling before there can be any hope of implementing a completely sustainable anti-waste system. What I’ve attempted in this project is to understand why we don’t, as an institution of higher learning, recycle more than we actually do and to suggest some baby steps to change our habits in the attempt of eventually becoming waste free.

This is not a scientific report. It was not my intention to write a science-based report. It was my aim to understand the theoretical, ideological, and behavioral aspects as to why Smithies don’t recycle as much as they should. I’ve used my knowledge of policy analysis and my understanding of trends on Smith’s campus to evaluate the college’s current issues with unnecessary waste and our below average recycling program. I began this project thinking about the strange dichotomy between my obsession with recycling everything possible and my ability to use multiple paper cups for my coffee addiction each week. The research process has been quite a journey. I would like to share my academic travels around campus, through our waste and towards a sustainable future with you. Enjoy.


© 2008; Sara Hoffman