Silliman serious in zero waste lead in Dumaguete

SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY this week will take a big step on the road to Zero Waste when its 26-member Deans Conference is expected to ratify the university’s “Environmental Policies,” a comprehensive and detailed roadmap for converting zero waste principles into specific actions in the university.

Silliman Zero Waste program was launched early this school year under the leadership of the Dr. Betty C. McCann, the new University President, and Dr. Jorge Augustin Emmanuel, Visiting Scientist and Adjunct Professor at the SU Institute of Environmental and Marine Science.

Emmanuel said at the launching, “President Betty McCann advocates for Silliman to be a Zero Waste university, perhaps the first in the nation.”

He said Zero Waste means “reducing our residual waste (what will go to our dumpsite) down to 10 per cent of our total waste,” and achieving that goal requires engaging the entire Silliman community.

The draft document, which had been released for comment by the university’s Administration to various unit heads, says Silliman University is committed to the principles of Zero Waste, energy conservation, renewable energy utilization, biodiversity conservation, and a reduced carbon footprint.

When approved and adopted the policies will be implemented in nine “component activities,” including teaching and research as well as worship and fellowship, culture and sports, outreach, operations and administration.

The policies will apply not only to faculty, staff and students but also to suppliers, concessionaires, booth operators, event organizers, sponsors and visitors.

The draft document has 82 provisions, calling for specific actions, such as:
• Eliminate the use of single-use plastic and refrain from bringing single-use cutlery into the university,
• Purchase recycled and environmentally preferred products and services,
• Wrap or serve of food in compostable materials or reusable containers,
• Ensure that sufficient bins for segregating leftover food, etc. are available during events and festivals, and
• Enhance greening of the campus, meeting and exceeding tree-planting quotas required by DENR and DepEd.

It also calls on academic units to incorporate ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION including WASTE MANAGEMENT in the curricula or as subject matter for teaching and discussion.

Emmanuel said Dumaguete generated 24,900 tons of solid waste in 2017, half of which was dumped in the Candauay dumpsite—including Silliman’s 415 truckloads of garbage.

Cities around the world produced 1.3 billion tons of garbage in 2012; the number is expected to double by 2025. – Celia E. Acedo, SU Research and Environment News