Go Green! CCS Progresses Toward Zero Waste

Thirty years ago, “Recycle, Reuse” became a mantra around the United States, as recycling programs in neighborhoods, businesses and schools increasingly became the standard. In 2020, however, the average American still sends 4.4 lbs. of trash to a landfill. What we now understand is that, while recycling and reusing are gravely important, reducing what we use and eventually throw out will make the most difference for the planet.

Creating a “green” college campus is no easy task, noted Mike Bruggeman, Sr. Director of Facilities, Event Operations and Campus Safety. He has been working toward this goal since arriving at the College for Creative Studies in the spring of 2017. Now co-chair of the Sustainability Committee, along with Dean of Graduate Studies Ian Lambert, the hard work of the Facilities and Environmental Services departments is coming to fruition.

Green Living Science conducted a waste reduction assessment in February and concluded that, due to the progress it has made toward achieving zero waste, CCS is well on its way to becoming a certified BEE Green Business.

The CCS sustainability program, encompassing both Ford and Taubman Center campuses, includes:
• an expansive single-stream recycling program
• strategically located water fill stations
• a comprehensive LED lighting program (LED lights for Kresge Ford and Walter B. Ford II classrooms, as well as Taubman Center stairwells are still pending)
• green cleaning products
• hand dryers (completed on the first and second floors of the Taubman Center and in the Kresge Ford café)
• a paperless work order system
• Taubman Center and Ford campus controls for HVAC and lighting

Recycling remains a crucial part of the process, however, and CCS has made significant strides.

In the first three months of its recycling program (data collected in October 2019), the College recycled an astounding 28.34 tons, which equates to 1,432 gallons of oil, 55 trees, 7,639 lbs. of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 7,992 gallons of water.

“We are off to a great start,” Bruggeman said. “However, the success of this program will require the support of the entire CCS community. To quote Kira Simpson of The Green Hub, ‘We can sit back, do nothing, and watch our planet be destroyed. Or we can take action, become advocates, and start making lifestyle choices that are kinder to people and the planet.’”

The next challenge for the CCS Sustainability Committee will be to standardize education around sustainable practices for students, faculty and staff.