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Ethics training update 3/19/2020

Posted by Meredith Moore on March 19, 2020

A small task force has been meeting weekly to discuss the content and implementation of the sustainability component within the ethics training. 


We are proposing to begin the training with four (or maybe three, if we drop one) questions along these lines, with the purpose being to get people’s attention and draw them in; each of these questions contains an interesting fact:


1. Did you know that the U of I campus currently sends about 55,000 pounds of waste to the landfill each day?


2. Did you know that some coffee (or other liquid) left in a cup can contaminate an entire bag of otherwise recyclable materials so that the entire bag is sent to the landfill? 


3. Did you know that every ton of recycled paper saves about 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water, and the energy needed to power the average U.S. home for six months?


4. Did you know that the U of I campus is committed to net zero emissions by 2050 (or earlier if possible)? (“net zero emissions” should be explained or other wording used)


(Perhaps use this wording as we introduce the above questions: “some questions for you”)



Next we provide information from the 2020 iCAP that bears on each of these questions and the fact it contains. (Perhaps use this wording as we introduce this information: “some details you may be interested to learn”) Start with a brief explanation of the scope and aims of the 2020 iCAP (2020 Illinois Climate Action Plan).


Further information re #1: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to a comprehensive Zero Waste Program/Plan by XXXX. This is the U.S. EPA definition of Zero Waste:  

[Zero Waste means the] conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. … Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

Zero Waste Campus means sending nothing to a landfill or incinerator.  Add something re how far we currently are from Zero Waste.


Further information re #2: Perhaps include something here about the practice of checking all

materials that are placed in recycling containers to make sure there is no contamination. Also some general info re recycling such as this: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to having recycling bins everywhere they are needed across campus by SP21. (Confirm date in final draft of iCAP.)


Further information re #3: The 2020 iCAP commits our campus to achieving this goal:


By the end of SP21, applicable staff will have been educated on proper sustainability goal metrics, standards, and policies; at least 50% of purchases of products like office paper, cleaning products, computers, other electronics, and freight/package delivery services must be sustainable to meet campus standards by FY21, and 75% by FY25. (Note: this wording is from an early draft of the iCAP.)


Perhaps this is a good place to include more information about the benefits of recycling and about what can currently be recycled on campus.


Further information re #4:

Explain here the iCAP target of zero GHG emissions. Explain what this means and some of its implications, using the wording from the 2020 iCAP. Use wording in “Targets” section of Energy SWATeam’s contribution to iCAP). Add something re how far we currently are from achieving zero GHG emissions.


Next – and after enough information about current steps and goals has been provided - extend an invitation to reflect about what each of us on campus can do or are already doing; also how the campus can do better. (Another option discussed: move this invitation to the end of the training and combine it with the invitation to be involved.)


Next:  A section on laws, policies, resources, information with lots of links.


Last: invitation to people taking the training to be involved.