Sustainable efforts can be found all around the world, even right here in the small town of Stillwater. I was able to learn more about Oklahoma State’s sustainable journey when the class visited the sustainability office this week. I was surprised to learn the numerous ways that the university is working to be more sustainable. The first way was through the upholstery shop. It is here that damaged campus furniture is brought to be fixed up. Most of the time, the furniture seen on campus is older, even though it may look rather new. This is because rather than buying new furniture when the older furniture is damaged, the university strives to fix up the older furniture because it’s often better quality. This also saves the university a lot of money. The second way that OSU is practicing sustainability is through their recycling program. On the tour, we visited the recycling center. Here is where paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and metal cans are brought to be separated and baled. The third way that Oklahoma State is using sustainable practices is through the act of composting. On the tour, we were taken to the composting area. We learned that dead plants and trees from campus are taken here, ground up, and brought back to campus as new soil.
This visit opened my eyes to the possibility of sustainable practices in my field of interior design. Before this visit, I would have never thought about using older furniture and upholstering it to furnish buildings. How can we implement upcycling and recycling more to reduce the wicked problem that is design waste?