Commencement Goes Green
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 four years, a total of 93.4 tons of waste has been diverted from the landfill. Additionally, recycling has dramatically increased since the program began; 2012 showed a 238% increase in paper, cans, and bottles recycled over 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 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, and caps & gowns can be recycled at these containers.
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, the initial mailing to all bachelor’s degree candidates and families this year was a postcard directing them to the commencement website for detailed weekend information. This resulted in a 91% paper reduction since 2010.
For more information about the University’s overall sustainability initiatives, please visit http://www.bu.edu/sustainability.