According to Mason’s 2010 Climate Action Plan, our first waste reduction goal was to increase our campus recycling rate to 25%. In 2015, Mason joined 317 other colleges and universities in signing the American Campuses Act on Climate (ACAC) Pledge. As a signatory of the ACAC, Mason committed to accelerating its transition to clean energy and aimed to further reduce its environmental impact by increasing its recycling rate to 50% by 2018.
Although Mason’s zero waste initiatives have strategically grown, like our dining hall composting program and our annual Patriot Pack Out, in fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018) Mason did not achieve its 50% recycling rate goal and posted a recycling rate of only 16.4%. Given Mason’s tremendous annual growth (both in enrollment and campus size per square foot), the management of recycling and waste is a constant challenge. Although we did not achieve our goal, we recognize that there is a lot of work left to do as a campus community and we remain committed to advancing Mason towards a more sustainable future. As the urgency of our climate crisis becomes more evident with each passing day, we are aggressively pursuing end-of-stream diversion efforts, active/passive behavior change campaigns, the elimination of single-use plastics, and overall waste reduction efforts by encouraging folks to purchase less and to only purchase Climate Neutral Certified and sustainable goods. Our strategic efforts will continue to advance Mason towards its sustainability goals for a more sustainable future for people and the planet.