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Resource Conservation


Princeton has been a leader in resource conservation for decades. Under the 2008 Sustainability Plan, the University aims to continue this tradition by encouraging sustainability in the supply chain of the goods and services it purchases, while decreasing its production of landfill waste. Princeton also strives to reduce its demand for water on campus — in the residence halls, in academic and administrative buildings, and in landscaping — and to create a vibrant and sustainable landscape through an integrated, campuswide ecosystem approach as guided by the Campus Plan.

The strategies employed to reach the goals are included in the following six priority areas:

Frick rain garden
Rain gardens and biofiltration areas have been positioned near the Frick Chemistry Laboratory to retain and filter building and site stormwater. The new landscaping replaces a large asphalt parking lot, reducing the impervious surface.
  • Dining: Increase sustainable food purchases to 70 percent by 2012, while prioritizing local foods; develop and display carbon footprint information for different types of food items; raise awareness about sustainable dining options through outreach and events; transition to tray-free dining across all six dining halls; recycle food waste and cooking oil.
  • Purchasing: Develop a Vendor Practices Life Cycle Assessment tool to aid in sustainable purchasing decisions; standardize on electric carts and ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles; encourage compliance with the 100 percent post-consumer recycled chlorine-free paper policy; transition to Green Seal-certified daily cleaning products; increase purchases of remanufactured toner cartridges; raise awareness about sustainable purchasing options.
  • Waste Reduction: Reduce hand towel waste by transitioning to proportioning dispensers; reduce paper usage on campus; reduce corrugated delivery box waste associated with University orders; increase household recycling to 50 percent by 2012; increase donation and recycling options during the 20-day period of year-end move-out; increase reuse and recycling options for items including electronics, office furniture and dorm mattresses; transition to "blue-cleaning" equipment that cleans with water to reduce the need for cleaning chemicals.
  • Landscape: Enhance green space with new plantings and local soils as needed and restore selected woodlands; minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; create compost from campus leaves, landscape trimmings and construction site topsoil when available, and reuse for landscape projects; improve the campus network of bicycle paths and walkways, and promote walking and biking as a means of transportation; implement a wayfinding program to direct motorists and pedestrians to their destination by the most efficient means possible.
  • Domestic Water: Reduce water usage in residencel halls by installing efficient fixtures and appliances and transitioning to tray-free dining; reduce water usage in academic and administrative buildings by installing efficient fixtures and equipment and rainwater storage and reuse systems; reduce water usage associated with campus heating and cooling; track and reduce potable water use for irrigation.
  • Stormwater Management: As part of the Campus Plan, implement "best stormwater management practices," including rain gardens, rainwater harvesting tanks, porous paving, green roofs and others to promote on-site stormwater retention and improvement of stormwater quality prior to entering streams and the lake.