Office of Sustainability

Welcome to Sustainability at Mary Baldwin University!

The Office of Sustainability supports Mary Baldwin’s commitments to energy conservation and waste reduction by engaging and educating our community through sustainability. Please explore this webpage to find advice for recycling, learn ways you can get involved, and contact information if you have further questions.

The Fourth 'R’:

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | RETHINK

While reducing waste, reusing goods, and recycling materials are extremely important and helpful, we need to RETHINK our mindset to generate less waste before we consume materials. By implementing the Four R’s, Mary Baldwin can reduce its collective carbon footprint and create a future for sustainable development in our community.

Sustainable Initiatives

Mary Baldwin University’s sustainable initiatives help perpetuate the education to our campus and the greater Staunton area. Students are encouraged to participate and contribute to the overall success of sustainable development on our campus for current and future MBU community members. Continue reading to learn more about MBU’s sustainable initiatives!

What can you do?

By taking the small steps and holding each other accountable to sustainable actions, we can help create an even more beautiful campus.

Recyclemania Logo

Recyclemania 2017 Final Ranking

Diversion Category

Per Capita Classic

Out of 190 schools


Recycling Diversion Rate

Out of 245 schools

Number of Pounds Recycled per Person During Recyclemania

Example: Say in one week, MBU generated 250 lbs of trash and 50 lbs of recycling. Our diversion rate would be our total recycling (50) divided by the combination of our trash and recycling (250+50=300). 50/300=.16667=16%
To get this number, the total amount of recyclables we collected during the 8 weeks of Recyclemania is divided by the total number of students, faculty and staff members on our Staunton campus.

Read these two articles published by External Affairs in the MBU Newsletter about Mary Baldwin’s participation in the 2017 Recyclemania Tournament

Check out the Office of Sustainability Newsletters!

Blog Posts


Energy Use

  • Turn off lights when not needed
  • Limit A/C fan use – open windows
  • Use cold water in laundry. Approximately 85% of energy used during washing cycles goes to heating the water
  • Have a lamp or desk light? Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) because they use a quarter of the energy for the same amount of light

Water Use

  • Use refillable water bottles to decrease the need for plastic water bottles
  • Limit shower use to 5 minutes


  • Don’t print it out unless you absolutely need to
  • If you can, print on both sides of the paper to decrease paper consumption


  • Walk or use public transportation to places rather than driving your own car. Staunton offers a Trolley Service for only 25 cents! This trolley can take you all over the Staunton area to visit the many shops, cafés, and restaurants in downtown. Gypsy Hill Park is a very popular spot for residents for their sports and recreational activities, duck pond, picnic shelters, concerts in the evenings, and numerous walking paths.


  • One of the best ways to reuse is to shop at thrift stores. Have something you don’t need any more and want to get rid of? Just drop it off at a local thrift store so that someone else can get more use out of the item. You never know what treasures you might find in thrift stores, so give it a shot!

 Dining Hall

Remember that you can purchase a reusable take-out containers from the Dining Hall at the beginning of the year to get food if you are on the run! This reduces the need for Styrofoam and plastic single-use containers


According to an Environmental Protection Agency report in 2013, the average American produces approximately 4.4 pounds of waste a day. That is almost 1,500 pounds per year for one person. Imagine how much waste is produced on our campus!

By recycling, we can help reduce Mary Baldwin University’s impact on the environment around us. Recycling is essential to keeping our land, water, and air clean. If we work together to recycle at MBU, we can all strive towards a green planet!


The renown mantra of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is missing one key element that helps hold all three pillars together. The Office of Sustainability encourages students, faculty and staff to RETHINK and reframe their mindsets when it comes to sustainability. Instead of buying an item, knowing you can recycle it, maybe you don’t need to buy that item in the first place. Become a ‘Resourceful Consumer’ as opposed to a ‘Mindless Consumer.’

Rethinking sustainability requires:

  • A commitment and care for the environment and those living in it;
  • A desire to education yourself on the local and global issues concerning sustainable development and;
  • The ability to work as a collaborative team and yet hold up your individual responsibilities

Curious about Recycling at Mary Baldwin?

 Watch This Video to See How Squirrels Recycle!

What Can Be Recycled at Mary Baldwin?

Mixed Paper

Please DO Recycle

  • Mixed Paper (staples okay!)
  • Newspaper
  • Envelopes/Junk Mail
  • Brochures
  • Magazines
  • Cardboard (dumpsters located behind Pannill & Hunt)

Please DO NOT Recycle

  • Used paper towels, tissues, and napkins
  • Milk or juice cartons
  • Metal spirals in notebooks
  • Baking paper/parchment
  • Paper with foil on it
  • Paper contaminated with grease
  • Mailing envelopes with bubble wrap inside
Corrugated Cardboard

Please DO Recycle

  • Break down or flatten cardboard and place in designated areas in most dorms and throughout campus. The two cardboard dumpsters are located behind Hunt Dining Hall and Pannill Student Center.

Please DO NOT Recycle

  • Greasy pizza boxes
  • Cardboard lined with plastic
  • Waxed cardboard

Please DO Recycle

  • Any Plastic with a #1-7 recycling logo
  • EMPTIED water/soda bottles
  • CLEAN take-out containers

Please DO NOT Recycle

    Plastic bags
  • Zip-lock bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Nail polish remover bottles
  • Cleaning bottles, like Lysol
  • Deodorant containers
Compostable items are sent to the composting bins behind Hunt Dining Hall where they eventually are returned to the campus gardens to help grow more food!

Please DO Compost

  • Vegetable and fruit scraps, like peels (stickers removed!)
  • Chemical-free napkins and paper towels
  • Coffee filters
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dryer lint
  • Tea bags

Please DO NOT Compost

    Cooking oil

  • Meat products, including bones
  • Dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Bread products
  • Walnuts (contain juglone, which is toxic for many plants)
  • Paper soiled with grease or oil

Sustainable Initiatives at Mary Baldwin University

Dining Services at MBU

Mary Baldwin’s Dining Services are a leading department in sustainability and community education. Local meats and vegetables are provided for the campus to eat in Hunt Dining Hall. They have eliminated trays from the Dining Hall to encourage waste reduction and conservation of energy used to clean the trays. Food remnants are placed in composting tumblers/bins behind the Dining Hall and returns the nutrients to Mary Baldwin’s campus gardens. The Dining Hall also promotes healthy eating and making thoughtful, nutritional choices.


Green Team

The Green Team is Mary Baldwin’s student environmental organization. This group seeks to engage our community in creative ways and to focus on sustainability through leading by example, resource conservation and campus engagement. If you have interest in joining or learning more about this group, contact Sam Stoner, Sustainability Coordinator at srstoner@marybaldwin.edu.


Native grass meadow

 This expanding and evolving ½ acre meadow on Cannon Hill has been transformed from a mono-culture to a diverse habitat. Non-native fescue (grass) has been replaced with native plants and flowers. This conversion not only supports bio-diversity, but absorbs stormwater and sequesters carbon, a greenhouse gas.


Community Gardens

MBC students and faculty are encouraged to participate in campus community garden located near the Adult Degree Program house.


Stormwater Mitigation

The College has made a commitment to reducing stormwater runoff to the Chesapeake Bay. Most recently the College collaborated with the City of Staunton to write and be awarded a grant to install new filters in campus storm drains that will reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment from entering the Bay.


Energy Reduction and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mary Baldwin has been taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint. The Turn It Off campaign reduced electricity use throughout campus particularly during breaks and weekends. We are currently working with the City of Staunton to conduct a city wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions inventory that will allow the greater community to set goals and develop strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

What can you do?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

  • The 4 R’s of sustainability are essential components of reducing your environmental impact.

Take the Small Steps!

  • Small steps can make a big difference! Everyone can play a role in making our campus even more beautiful!

Join the Green Team!

  • This is Mary Baldwin’s environmental student organization that serves as the catalyst for change on campus and helps bring a focus of sustainability not only to Mary Baldwin but to the surrounding community as well.

Stay informed!

Contact Information

Sam Stoner

Sustainability Coordinator

Have a question about sustainability?

Sustainability Form