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On April 22, Northwestern University celebrated Earth Day with numerous events including construction of a miniature “Mt. Trashmore,” built to represent the amount of waste generated on campus yearly. In 2008, Northwestern’s Evanston campus alone generated 3,732 tons of refuse, according to Julie Cahillane, NU’s manager of recycling and refuse.

To help dispose of generated trash, Northwestern’s Elder Hall installed a food waste pulper, which reduces food waste volume by removing water from it. Dining services also donates unused portions of food to Campus Kitchens, which provides meals to those less fortunate in the Evanston community. Two dining halls have implemented the “tray-free” option, which greatly reduces energy and water for washing trays.

As part of Earth Month and in an effort to achieve sustainability and address climate change, Northwestern is taking steps in the areas of transportation, energy conservation and education.

Janie Savage, assistant to Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Eugene Sunshine, told the RoundTable in an e-mail that each weekend Northwestern asks employees to turn off lights before leaving for the day, and custodians at the end of their shifts. Northwestern currently uses CFL and LED bulbs on campus.

Northwestern also has two I-GO cars on campus that help reduce traffic congestion and pollution, one on the south side of campus and one at central campus. A third car will be added and located near the Noyes Street el station.

In addition to getting a third I-GO car, Ms. Savage says, “There is an outside company that wants to put a solar-powered shuttle bus on campus. This is a 12-14 seat- vehicle that has a maximum speed of up to 25 mph and a mileage range of 62 miles per day. This is being considered for implementation as a means to supplement other shuttle routes on and close to campus.”

Within the next year, Northwestern will pursue the use of the Vegawatt, a device that produces electricity and hot water by using vegetable oil as fuel.

Northwestern’s curriculum includes numerous courses related to sustainability and environmental concerns such as “Sustainable Energy for the 21st Century,” “Environmental Management” and “Green Chemistry.”

If these strategies work as well as Northwestern hopes, look for things to be a lot greener on campus in the near future.

Eco-Garage Sale

There will be an eco-garage sale from 8 a.m. to noon on May 2 at the Ecology Center, 2400 McCormick Blvd. Donations of new or gently used items may be dropped off April 27-May 1 at the Ecology Center. Proceeds will benefit the Evanston Environmental Association. For drop-off details or more information about the sale, call 847-448-8256.



Permitted Through May 14

 To allow for spring yard cleanup, the use of backpack-mounted and hand-held gasoline-powered leaf blowers is permitted through May 14. These leaf blowers may be used during the following hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Friday, May 15, this equipment will be banned until the autumn clean-up schedule. The leaf blower ordinance (70-O-96) is enforced by the Evanston Police Department and violators will be given a $75 compliance ticket. Please call the Ecology Center at 847-448-8256 or the Police Department at 847-866-5000 with any questions.