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Kappa Sigma showcases new zero-waste project

Kappa Sigma unveiled its newly-outfitted zero-waste house in a rollout event and tour on Wednesday.

Representatives from R&DE Sustainable Living, PSSI/Stanford Recycling, the Green Living Council and the Stanford Green Store, the groups involved in the effort, attended to see changes — including three-stream recycling bins inside residents’ rooms, new exterior recycling bins and different signage — firsthand. Among the most notable of the guests was Shirley Everett, senior associate vice provost of Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), and Rodger Whitney, executive director of R&DE student housing.

David Wintermeyer ’17, the community service chair at Kappa Sigma, said that R&DE plans to expand the waste-free program to 20 row houses by the end of the school year.

Wintermeyer said a campus-wide educational outreach effort about the problem of red Solo cups is in the works. These cups cannot be be recycled by the company to which Stanford currently sells its recyclables because they are made with a form of Styrofoam.

R&DE hopes to eradicate red Solo cups from 10 other row houses this year, Wintermeyer said. However, in order to do so, these houses would have to deal with the additional cost of recyclable cups as a replacement.

“Twenty houses adopting the zero-waste program is in R&DE’s action plan for this year,” Wintermeyer said. “The only thing stopping the cups is we’ve applied to three different grants and we need one of them to [fund] it.”

According to Victoria Mao ’17, an operations management officer at the Stanford Green Store, the Stanford Green Store might be the supplier for these cups, as it has been in contact with the fraternity.

“It is a large house, so their need for sustainable products is a lot greater than individual student groups,” Mao said. “So we’re really hoping that by marketing first to Kappa Sigma, we’ll be able to effect greater change within the other row houses as well.”

Although Mao sees the program’s potential, she expressed some doubt about its immediate results.

“I was very aware of how big this project was, but I wasn’t sure to what extent they were going to be incorporating the zero-waste management program into the rooms,” Mao said. “To be honest, I’m not sure how it might work out having these three-tier bins within the rooms, but I’m really excited to see how it might change behavior just by having those materials in there.”

Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’

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