As the University’s largest and most visible event, Reunions will play a critically important role in achieving our aspirational goal to produce zero waste.
At the same time, international recycling markets are undergoing major changes, most notably with the market virtually disappearing for soiled, mixed recyclables, which have required key changes in how Princeton manages waste.
This year, for the first time, Princeton will not be making recycling bins available to Reunions participants.
This does not mean, however, that the University is scaling back its commitment to Greening Reunions or to its broader sustainability efforts.
In fact, we’re publicly stepping up efforts across the board, evidenced by the publication of Princeton’s Sustainability Action Plan this past Earth Day. That plan includes doing more to stem the tide of contaminated and soiled recyclable materials that are overwhelming global markets.
We anticipate that removing the recycling bins at Reunions is a temporary necessity, not a permanent change, as we look to expand sustainable purchasing, and engage the Reunions alumni community as changemakers in adopting creative behavioral solutions.
Figuring out the right changes to our processes and habits in response to these trends won’t happen overnight, but we are setting a longer-term plan in motion to make Reunions a zero-waste event that we can all celebrate.
This year, you can expect to see:
Bring Your Own Linens (BYOL) program for alumni/guests staying on campus
Princeton EcoReps collecting recyclables at the P-rade
Back-of-house recycling taking place throughout campus
We hope you’ll lead the way in spreading a culture of reuse! These are easy steps you can take:
Reuse your water bottles, travel mugs, utensils, and cups
Attend Sustainability events listed in the Reunions schedule
Apply to become a member of the newly proposed Reunions Sustainability Task Force to help transform Princeton’s largest event
Serve as a Reunions Sustainability Chair for your class