STARS apology (STARS)
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This post is related to STARS, AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.
Dear former employers.
I am sorry that you listened to me and your own environmental ethos and that in doing so you became pioneers in the field of campus recycling and waste reduction.
To the schools with whom I implemented a food waste composting programs as far back as 1994, and all those with whom I implemented composting programs thereafter, I am sorry.
To the several schools throughout the 90s and early 2000s with who I implemented programs to reduce printing in computer labs, including charging for printing, eliminating of banner pages, and other methodology, I am sorry.
To all of the schools with whom I implemented a reuse program to collect clothing, canned food, and furniture, I am sorry, as far back as the early 1990’s, I am sorry.
To the school with whom I doubled your paper recycling and increased your C&D recycling exponentially between 2000 and 2005, I am sorry.
To all the schools and departments thereof for whom I set up your initial cardboard recycling program, some of which ran for as much as a decade and a half prior to 2005, I am sorry.
For those of you for whom I set up your first bottle & can recycling program, and with whom I continued expanding the tons recovered by those programs despite the fact that the manufacturers kept lightweighting each of those containers on us, I am sorry.
To the school with whom I cut your annual trash tonnage in half from 1992 to 2010, despite increases in enrollment and building square footage on campus, I am sorry that you will only get credit for the last couple hundred tons of waste reduction and not the 400-500 tons of waste reduction that preceded it.
I am sorry that our early success appears to have cheated you out of STARS credits. Had you not listened to me or your own environmental ethic, you might now be better recognized for your incredible recycling and waste reduction efforts. Had you done nothing and waited to implement programs, like too many of your peers, you might now have a much higher baseline of waste from which to reduce and be credited for your waste reduction efforts. Had you waited till 2006 like too many of your peers, you might get more STARS points for low hanging fruit that you removed from your waste stream decades earlier, a model that some of your peers are only now awakening to.
I hope that someday the new campus sustainability movement will sufficiently recognize the incredible efforts of the campus sustainability and recycling pioneers that preceded the release of An Inconvenient Truth. I hope that they will someday allow you and some of your peers to baseline your efforts in a way that recognizes the advancements that you made before some of your current student were even born. I hope that in recognizing those pioneering efforts, folks will find a way to reward your innovation instead of penalizing you for it. Until then, I can only apologize for our early success and my encouragement of it.
I recognize that the extra decade or more of scope 3 emissions reductions that you achieved, recycling revenues that you earned, and avoided landfill fees that you realized might be hollow reward. And for that, I am truly sorry.
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