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New 2009-10 Sustainability Report Shows Progress in Water and Landfill Waste Reduction at Pomona

Pomona College, recognized as a national leader in college sustainability, has released its 2009-10 Sustainability Annual Report, which outlines the College’s sustainability efforts and provides an update on progress towards environmental goals. Among the highlights are significant reductions in waste sent to landfills, water usage and synthetic fertilizer use.

Pomona, which has 1,550 students, decreased its water use by 11.7 percent, 86,135,938 gallons, during 2009-10.  Among the programs contributing to the reduction was the removal of 1,700 square-feet of turf and more than 21,000 square-feet of shrubs, and their replacement with drip-irrigated, more drought-tolerant plants. More efficient plumbing fixtures were also installed throughout the campus, including low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. Over 10 years, the College has achieved a 23-percent reduction in water use.

During 2009-10, the College decreased the waste sent to landfills by 20 percent, to 544 tons, over the previous year. Ongoing waste reduction programs include green waste mulching; pre-consumer composting of kitchen scraps; compost buckets available for checkout; Food Rescue, which delivers leftover prepared food to local shelters and charitable organizations; and a construction waste diversion program, which diverted 77 percent of construction waste from landfills last year.

In addition, Pomona’s ReCoop program, which sells items left behind by students the previous spring, “recycled” more than 75 lamps, 40 rungs and 45 refrigerators, among other items, when students moved into the dorms in fall 2009. Through the Institutional Recycling Network, Pomona also donated 29 tons of furniture to Managua, Nicaragua, including used bookcases, dressers, desks, mattresses and chairs.

In terms of pollutants, the Pomona College Grounds crew decreased synthetic fertilizer use 86.5 percent from 2008-09, from 9,250 pounds to 1,250 pounds. This was achieved with a number of practices to reduce stress on turf and ornamental plantings.

The Pomona College Sustainability Annual Report is compiled by the College’s Sustainability Integration Office. A link to the full report can be found at http://www.pomona.edu/administration/sustainability/news/news.aspx.