Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Corps of Cadets

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Cadets collect the recycling from Academy buildings. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Ashley Cordi.

Leaders create and cause change.

The Coast Guard Academy develops the service leaders of tomorrow, in turn shaping the future of the Coast Guard. Beyond military leadership, the academy strives to lead by example with a culture of sustainability.

The academy’s approach to sustainability is ambitious, envisioning itself to be the Coast Guard’s center of innovation for all things “green.” By including sustainability in the Strategic Plan and by adopting a sustainability policy and plan that encourages cadet involvement, the academy is resolved to implement a culture that embraces environmental responsibility.

The sustainability club and ARAMARK promoted the importance of procuring locally produced field by establishing an herb garden. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Ashley Cordi.

The regimental recycling division and sustainability club’s partnership works to put innovation into practice by identifying simple and cost-effective ways and means to improve recycling within the Corps of Cadets.

Over the past year, the academy has racked up a number of accomplishments through these initiatives. They decreased hazardous waste disposal by 34.1% and other regulated waste by 68.9% compared to two years ago, participated in RecycleMania, ranking third nationally in the Per Capita Classic and first in the State of Connecticut. They also received a Bronze Federal Electronics Challenge Award from EPA, a rebate from Connecticut Light and Power, an EPA Environmental Merit Award for recycling and developed the first ever “Developing Leaders in Sustainability” elective class for cadets.

Alongside these notable successes, the cadets were awarded the Department of Homeland Security Sustainable Practices Award in the “Green Dream Team” category and the academy as a whole won the “Building the Future” category. Their robust and results-driven program has achieved great success through their internal partnerships and activities.

Single Stream Recycling
The academy uses single stream recycling where all recyclable are collected in one receptacle. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Today’s cadets are eco-aware, eco-savvy and passionate about sustainability. They seek to change activities and processes in order to improve or lessen environmental impacts in all aspects of the Coast Guard. The sustainability club and regimental recycling are a voice and force for cadets and their partnership exhibits the cadet commitment to develop “green” leaders of the Coast Guard today in order to obtain the sustainable service of tomorrow.

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