Commencement Going Green

Recycle Your Gown

On Sunday, May 17th white bins for recycling the gowns will be placed at the locations below. Please note that the gowns will not be reused or resold, only recycled.

  • 33 Harry Agganis Way
  • 10 Buick Street
  • Warren Towers
  • South Campus

For more than two decades, Boston University has been addressing issues concerning sustainability through curriculum and research. A formal campus-wide sustainability initiative was started in 2008, and has had great positive impact in reducing Boston University’s environmental footprint. The following are some of our green points-of-pride as they relate to Commencement.

Green Gowns for Graduates

Our scarlet and whites have gone green. Each year, approximately 4,300 caps and gowns made from 107,500 half liter bottles are provided to our graduates, keeping these bottles from filling up landfills and eliminating the need to use the equivalent of 2,150 gallons of gas to manufacture the polyester yarn used to produce the old gowns.

Green Gowns Quick Facts

  • Made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles.
  • Each gown is made from 23 bottles.
  • 54% reduction in CO2 emissions to produce these gowns vs. virgin polyester.

Toward Zero Waste

BU Dining Services is moving toward zero waste at Commencement. Over the past five years, a total of 129 tons of waste has been diverted from the landfill. The amount of paper, cans, and bottles recycled in 2014 was almost four times greater than 2009.

  • Compost & Recycling: sorted behind the scenes at all Commencement events.
  • No Trashcans: on the floor of catered events, only tray stands for our wait staff to sort in the back.
  • Tableware: All disposable tableware used at Commencement is either compostable or recyclable.
  • Compostables: All compostables are taken to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, MA to be converted to a natural nutrient sold to landscapers and farmers as soil amendment.

Single Stream

Single stream recycling will be provided at Commencement on Nickerson Field. You will find recycle bins at the staging areas, in the stadium, and access and exit points on Harry Agganis Way and Babcock Street. Paper, cans & bottles, can be recycled in these containers.

Printed Material

The cover and text stock of the University’s official Commencement Program – The RedBook – is a 10% post consumer waste product, and has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certifications. The cover stock also has Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

The paper stock used for our school/college convocation programs and invitations has SFI certification.

The inks used on all our Commencement-related printed materials are soy-based inks which are more environmentally friendly than the traditional petroleum based inks, and make the printed piece easier to recycle.

In addition, all bachelor’s degree candidates and families receive a small postcard directing them to the Commencement website for detailed weekend information instead of large mailings. This has resulted in a significant reduction of paper waste.

For more information about the University’s overall sustainability initiatives, please visit sustainability@BU.