Procurement and Disposal
Berkshire has a life-cycle assessment (LCA) program run by students that encourages the auditing of goods and services purchased by Berkshire. Students gather the relevant information and suggest alternative products that have much less environmental impacts during their production and distribution. Current purchasing policies include:
- Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) silver and/or gold registered products for all standard desktop and notebook/laptop computers and monitors.
- Recycled content paper products.
- Green Seal certified cleaning products.
- Low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) paints.
- Laundry services whose operations are the most “green”.
- Energy Star or better certification for all electronics and appliances.
- Flooring that has lowest environmental impact.
Berkshire recycles paper/cardboard, beverage containers, electronics, clothing, printer cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, and coat hangers. Each student has a recycling bin in their room for paper and beverage containers, which they filter into two larger bins at the entrance of their dorm. Cardboard is broken down and placed behind the blue paper bins. All bins around campus are collected three times a week by the maintenance department and brought to the campus recycling area for shipment. All other items such as electronics and clothing are also put in their respective bins at the dorm entrances. These are picked up once a week by students and brought to the campus recycling area for shipment. Faculty and staff are expected to store recyclable material and bring it directly to the proper recycling areas, reserving the dorm bins for student use.
Berkshire’s paper and beverage containers are picked up by a local recycling transport company Master Garbologist, and brought to the Casella Waste System’s FCR in Claverack, NY. Electronics and universal wastes are picked up by Northeast Lamp Recycling. Coat hangers are taken by E.R. Laundry Services. All other recyclables are shipped directly to local vendors.
Berkshire has several reduce and reuse programs in place to divert materials from landfills. It is the school’s default to make course catalogs, schedules, directories, bulletins, report cards, registration materials, etc. available only through the school’s website. Student led programs include unsubscribing unwanted magazine subscriptions, promoting sustainable events, encouraging zero waste meals, eliminating bottled water and tray use, composting dining waste, and making scratch notebooks from recycled paper. It is also standard practice in physical plant to reuse resources whenever possible in retrofits and campus repairs.