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Sustainability Progress

The College has a robust set of energy (reduction and renewable energy) and materials management goals.

Energy

ESF continues to reduce energy use intensity, transition to clean energy, and move toward the goal of deep decarbonization. ESF is on pace to meet or exceed the NYS targets of 20% reduction in energy use intensity by 2025, and 40% reduction in GHGs by 2030.

After completing the College's first Clean Energy Master Plan for the Syracuse Campus in 2021, the Sustainability Division is again partnering with NYSERDA and NYPA to conduct energy audits and create an Energy Master Plan for the College's regional campuses. The College's next Energy Manager will be hired in 2022, with funding support from NYSERDA.

Materials Management

ESF was awarded the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling's (NYSAR3) 2020 Recycling Leadership Award in the Education Category.

Visit the Zero Waste Focus Area for more information about how we have achieved the progress outlined below and to learn how to properly recycle and compost on campus.

Data & Analysis

Please note that each annual April-March reporting period aligns with New York State's GreenNY reporting cycle. This alignment simplifies data collection and reporting.

Diversion rates refer to the percentage of discarded items on each campus that are either recycled or composted (aka managed in a sustainable way). The higher the diversion rate, the higher the recycling/compost rate!

Syracuse Campus

April 2018-March 2019 (baseline) April 2019-March 2020 April 2020-March 2021*
Recycling 48 tons 70 tons 98 tons
Compost 0 tons 11.6 tons 5 tons
Trash 138 tons 91.5 tons 42.5 tons
Total 186 tons 173.1 tons 145.5 tons
Diversion Rate 26% 47% 71%

March 2019-April 2020 Analysis

Percent change in trash from baseline (by weight): 33.7% decrease
Percent change in recycling from baseline (by weight): 46% increase
Change in diversion rate from baseline: Increase from 26% to 47%

Compost data do not include yard debris

March 2020-April 2021 Analysis*

This data is heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trash and compost generated rates were greatly reduced due to low campus occupancy. Recycling weight dramatically increased beacuse the operations staff were able to dedicate a large amount of time to electronic and scrap metal recycling (clearing out spaces used historically for storage).

Compost data do not include yard debris. Marshall Hall renovation construction and demolitition debris recycling data not included (2,119 tons recycled).

Ranger School (Wakena, NY)

April 2018-March 2019 (baseline) April 2019-March 2020 April 2020-March 2021*
Recycling 6 tons 8 tons 6 tons
Compost 0 tons 0 tons 0 tons
Trash 21 tons 25 tons 20 tons
Total 27 tons 33 tons 26 tons
Diversion Rate 22% 24% 23%

Ranger School Analysis*

The Ranger School remained operational and at full capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, trash and recycling data did not experience fluctuations similar to the Syracuse campus. The Ranger School composts food scraps, but does not track this data at this time. Zero waste efforts have primarily focused on the Syracuse campus, but the scope of these programs will be expanded to the Ranger School in the future.

Centennial Hall (Syracuse dorm)

April 2018-March 2019 (baseline) April 2019-March 2020 April 2020-March 2021*
Recycling 14 tons 15 tons 14 tons
Compost 0 tons 0 tons 0 tons
Trash 50 tons 63 tons 72 tons
Total 64 tons 78 tons 86 tons
Diversion Rate 22% 19% 16%

Centennial Hall Analysis*

Centennial Hall saw reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students that lived in the dorm attended classes virtually, so they spent the vast majority of their time living in the building. It is interesting to note that Centennial Hall occupants produced more trash during the COVID-19 pandemic than the Syracuse campus and the Ranger School combined!

Students in Centennial Hall have been informally composting food scraps behind the dorm for a number of years, but this data is not tracked. Beginning mid way through the Fall 2021 semseter, the dorm began formally composting via a contract with Syracuse Haulers.

ESF Aggregate Data

April 2018-March 2019 (baseline) April 2019-March 2020 April 2020-March 2021*
Recycling 68 tons 93 tons 118 tons
Compost 0 tons 11.6 tons 5 tons
Trash 209 tons 179.5tons 134.5 tons
Total 277 tons 284 tons 257.5 tons
Diversion Rate 24.5% 37% 48%

ESF Analysis*

April 2020-March 2021 data was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is important to recognize that recycling weights during this time period are still significantly higher than in the baseline year, even with campus occupancy greatly reduced.

The increased diversion rate at the Syracuse campus masks the consistent diversion rates seen at the Ranger School and in Centennial Hall. Visit Zero Waste to learn how ESF is expanding zero/low waste programs to these areas of campus!