Let's Get Sorted: The Path to Zero Waste at Pomona College
This senior thesis in environmental analysis explores the Zero Waste ideal and its practical application to a college campus. Given the growing global trash crisis and its grave environmental, social and economic consequences, the Zero Waste movement argues for a holistic shift from ‘end of pipe’ disposal practices to those that promote the cyclical use of materials, with little-to-no matter ending up in the landfill or incinerator. Cities and colleges around the world have adopted these Zero Waste goals in an effort to function as more sustainable, efficient and moral entities. With a case study of Pomona College, I assess the current status of waste production and diversion and identify opportunities to move the College towards its 2030 Zero Waste goal and to continue its growth as a resource-wise campus. Though the College has made substantial strides towards sustainability, significant room for improvement remains, particularly in regard to waste. Various infrastructural, political, educational, data driven and cultural changes are recommended to reduce waste at Pomona College and to evolve students into conscientious resource-users on campus and beyond.