Williams College Students Turn Leftovers Into Donations

Leftover meals that went unserved in the dining halls are now being gathered up by students, packaged into meals and delivered by volunteers from several different student organizations under an umbrella initiative known as "The Campus Kitchens Project," a leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste. Student volunteers pick up food three nights a week from campus dining halls, chill the food for 24 hours, and then package the meals for deliveries to multiple affordable housing communities.

U Virginia Hosts First Zero Waste ACC Game

With the help of 75 student volunteers, UVA Athletics, Aramark and the Office for Sustainability, fans at the sold-out Atlantic Coast Conference game recycled and composted 94 percent of all waste generated at the arena as part of this year’s Game Day Challenge. The nationwide Game Day Challenge contest promotes waste diversion at college basketball games.

PepsiCo Recycling Names Eight Zero Impact Fund Winners

The recipients of its Zero Impact Fund, an expansion of PepsiCo Recycling’s college and university programs to help bring campus eco-innovations to life, are Centre College, Johnson County Community College, Millersville University, Northern Kentucky University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Irvine, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and University of Northern Iowa. Winning project proposals include compost infrastructure development, student education and engagement campaigns, renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, zero-waste programs, a bike-share program and landfill diversion programs.

Utah State U Initiates Recycling Education Week

In an effort to reduce contamination and increase waste diversion rates, the university will have volunteers available to instruct students about recycling correctly during a week-long recycling awareness event. New recycling bins will also be installed that have sensors thanking people who recycle.

U Saskatchewan Looks to Tackle Food Waste With Food Dehydrator

A new food waste dehydrator now aids composting at the university by producing a semi-composted material that will be added to existing outdoor compost piles and landscaping materials. The liquid removed from the food waste can be used as a fertilizer in campus flower beds. An estimated 2,500 pounds of food waste will be diverted from the landfill weekly.

U Maryland Implements New Dining Plan to Cut Waste

The university transitioned from a-la-carte to "Anytime Dining," a meal package that gives students unlimited access to campus dining halls. The new scheme has saved Dining Services from purchasing more than six million takeout containers, straws, lids and disposable utensils. Campus-wide waste sent to landfills also declined by more than 63 tons from 2015 to 2016.

U Nebraska-Lincoln Students Repurpose Aluminum Waste

Students began a local non-profit called Alumin8 that collects aluminum waste and turns it into valuable products, such as cups, night lights, trophies and plaques, and toys, that will then be donated to local shelters. Alumin8 was provided seed money from the university's Green Fund and also operates a registered student organization.

U California Berkeley Begins Recycling 3-D Printer Waste

With over 100 3-D printers on campus, a new recycling initiative by students is intended to tackle 3-D printer waste by grinding then melting the waste plastic, before reshaping it into a new spool that can be used for new projects.

Syracuse U to Launch a Reusable Bag Program at Bookstore

Beginning this summer, the university will introduce the reusable bag program, which aims to reduce usage of plastic bags. There will be a variety of bags for consumers to choose from, including some that will feature artwork from student designers as part of an open contest, with the winning design featured on bags beginning in the fall semester. The university distributes an average of more than 153,300 bags per year.

Texas A&M U Begins Labeling Compostable Material

After discovering that some to-go containers were compostable but looked like non-compostable ones, a bill was passed by the Student Government Association to include labels on compostable packaging to better inform students of a whether a container is compostable or landfill.

North Carolina State U Students Test Paper Towel Composting Solution

A team of psychology students researched, designed and tested a system to compost an estimated 34,000 pounds of annual paper towel waste from the university’s student union building. The team’s challenge was to create a simple system that captured users’ attention in order to eliminate contamination and maximize landfill diversion.

The New School & North Carolina State U Students Win Cradle to Cradle Competition

A pocket knife designed with Autodesk Fusion 360 by students of The New School won Best Use of Fusion 360 and a prescription medicine bottle that reduces medical waste designed by a student at North Carolina State University won Best Student Project in the fourth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, presented by Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The design challenge encourages the design community to envision solutions for the circular economy, inspired by cradle to cradle product design principles.

U Pittsburgh Bookstore Implements BYO Bag Initiative

Over the past two years, several different student groups at the university have taken steps to make plastic bags disappear, encouraging campus buildings and vendors to use reusable bags instead. Now customers at the university bookstore can buy a reusable bag for 99 cents, pay 25 cents for a plastic bag or forego a bag all together and carry their purchases.

CFP Championship Game Makes Strides to Reduce Impact

Playoff Green Project was an initiative to make the January 2017 College Football Playoff Championship game, held in Tampa, Florida, more sustainable by seeking to reduce food waste through donations, reduce solid waste by recycling and purchase renewable energy certificates.

Tufts U Introduces Mixed Recycling System

Beginning in spring 2017, the university will be rolling out glass/metal/plastic and paper/cardboard bins in an effort to make recycling easier and increase its recycling rate.

Hope College Students Make Campus Recycling Video

Sustainability interns worked together to produce an informative video that aims to educate their peers about recycling on campus.

EPA Issues Final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule applies to most colleges and universities because most generate hazardous waste. Published in the Federal Register on Nov. 28, the new updates to the rule incorporate guidance, fill gaps in the regulations that reduced effectiveness and increase flexibility to varying types of generators.

U New Hampshire Organic Farm Launches Innovative Composting Operation

At the university's Organic Dairy Research Farm, students and researchers continue to close the loop of operations through launching a composting program that provides a high-quality compost product and uses compost heat to preheat water for other farm uses.

U California, Davis & Ursinus College Win EPA Food Recovery Challenge

The University of California, Davis was recognized for its efforts to actively prevent and reduce food waste. UC Davis staff proactively gather, track and analyze metrics on a regular basis to identify opportunities to reduce waste further. Ursinus College is the winner in the Colleges and Universities data-driven section, achieving the highest percent increases in their sector comparing year-to-year data. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food in various sectors of the U.S.

Indiana U Pennsylvania Releases Rap Video About Recycling

Released in conjunction with America Recycles Day, Michael Mann, the university's Facilities Operations coordinator, worked with University Video Services to produce a rap video to bring awareness about recycling on campus. Mann played the roles of people involved in the university's recycling program, from an automotive shop employee promoting oil recycling to a grounds crew member who shuttles recycling material.

Two Universities Turn Used Gloves into Durable Goods

In an effort to reduce their solid waste streams, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University have diverted almost six tons of waste from landfills through a recycling program, called RightCycle by Kimberly-Clark Professional, that turns used lab gloves and garments into shelving, flowerpots and furniture. RightCycle is a large-scale recycling program for non-hazardous lab and industrial waste.

U Texas El Paso Introduces Eco-Takeout Program

The student-driven Eco-Takeouts program is an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic foam by replacing disposable takeout boxes with reusable containers at different eateries throughout campus. Participants in the Eco-Takeouts program are issued a token, which can then be taken to a participating dining location on campus in exchange for an to-go container. Once the participant is done with the container, they can exchange it for a new token and repeat the process.

Campbell U Joins Campus Kitchens Project

The university is the 56th school to join the Campus Kitchens Project’s national network of kitchens that reclaims unused food from local campus vendors and transforms it into a healthy meal for those experiencing food insecurity.

U South Carolina & Clemson U Students Engage with Industry to Reduce Manufacturing Waste

A new partnership with Michelin North America will select up to 12 students from each school to take two courses that will prepare students to research sustainability and come up with a plan to reduce the amount of waste in tire manufacturing. Students will visit Michelin headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, a few times throughout the semester to work alongside Michelin employees.

IUPUI & Butler U Win Sustainable Campus Competition

A joint project between Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Butler University won $50,000 from Kimberly-Clark Professional* in the Sustainable Campus Competition. The funds will go toward a large-scale, commercial composting collection initiative as a means to catalyze a city-wide composting collection program. Their plan will begin with both universities sharing the cost of having a trash hauler cart away the food waste from dining halls at both campuses. The hope is to eventually bring other Indianapolis organizations on board to share and ultimately lower the cost of hauling.

Rice U Sets New Waste Diversion Goal

After a study conducted by the student interns during the summer of 2016, the university ordered $3,000 worth of recycling bins and announced a new recycling goal that aims to divert 40 percent of all waste to recycling by the year 2020. Recycling rates were last measured at around 28 percent of total waste in 2015.

Yale U Reduces Waste Burden

Building on its momentum to reduce waste from end-of-year move-out and potentially reduce expenses of a first-time move to campus, suite common rooms that have traditionally been bare are now furnished with a combination of a sofa, chair, coffee table and/or computer table.

Brandeis U Composts at All-Campus Event

An early-August barbecue event yielded just one bag of trash despite more than 700 participants due to the university's commitment to increase waste diversion rates. The event featured composting and recycling.

U New Hampshire Stadium Transitions to Zero Waste

The new football stadium houses 14 concession windows where snacks and beverages are served in either compostable or recyclable containers. Members of student groups and other volunteers, called bin goalies, will be on hand during events to educate guests and keep the zero-waste system working.

U Louisville Efficiency Measure Yields Paper Waste Reduction

A new model of streamlining transactional business processes that were previously being done in different spaces has resulted in measurable savings from resource use and staff time reduction, and waste reduction.

U Illinois Chicago Reduces GHGs from Waste

By selecting a new, in-state, waste vendor that bakes rather than incinerates the waste to recycle organic compounds and metals, the university is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with its hazardous waste.

U Michigan Hosts Zero Waste Event for 5,500 New Students

In an effort to convey a culture of sustainability, more than 5,500 freshmen attended the zero waste picnic sponsored in part by the Office of Sustainability. The event used only recyclable or compostable items, including food, napkins, plates, silverware, compostable plastics and featured the use of a mobile hydration station.

U Calgary Expands Campus Recycling Program

Beginning in fall of 2016, the university will convert all paper & cardboard recycling bins to accept all recyclables, including paper, cardboard, plastics, tin and foil. This expansion to the university's waste reduction and recycling program aligns with a new City of Calgary bylaw requiring all businesses and organizations to recycle a broader list of materials.

North Carolina State U Expands Composting in Football Stadium

Building on the success of a compost program piloted last football season, waste stations will be located on the concourse level and staffed by student and community volunteers, who will help fans sort waste into composting, landfill or recycling bins. For the first time inside the stadium, workers who clean up after the game will separate recyclable and compostable materials from landfill items.

U Arizona Holds First Salvage Sale

In an effort to reduce the landfill waste, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life coordinated an end-of-year move-out campaign to capture unwanted materials and recently held a sale of those items that collected over $9,000. Of the materials that were obtained at the end of the year, some of the items were donated to local charities, such as a women's resource center, a veteran center and homeless shelter.

Millersville U Turns Plastic Bottles into Table & Bench

The two new pieces of outdoor furniture were made from plastics that were discarded in recycle bins and locally manufactured into lumber-style pieces.

North Carolina State U Lifts Resource Burden for Low-Income Students

A new program called Pack2Pack connects under-resourced students within the Pack Promise program with used, unwanted home furnishings that would otherwise go to local landfills.

Northern Arizona U Becomes Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus

As of July, a new university policy is in effect that extends the smoking ban from inside university buildings and vehicles to all outdoor campus areas including parking lots and athletic fields.

U Nebraska-Lincoln Starts Composting in Student Union

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska's Environmental Sustainability Committee has worked with administrators, food vendors and a new Lincoln-based company to establish the composting program, which will be established in three phases. The first phase includes pre-consumer food waste, while additional phases will feature promotion and education, and expansion that includes all compostable waste from the Student Union.

Loyola U Students Support Composting at National Festival

In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Lollapalooza hired 46 Loyola students to guide festival-goers to compost food scraps, recycle appropriate materials and use refillable bottles instead of one-time use containers. The four-day festival included over 400,000 attendees.

Indiana U-Owned Hotel Diverts 6K Pounds of Soap

After seeing a presentation on Clean the World, an organization dedicated to making hygiene products accessible to people worldwide, the university-owned hotel was able to divert nearly two years worth of leftover soap and shampoos, totaling over 6,500 pounds, to the organization.

Michigan State U Implements Campus-Wide Tobacco Ban

The campus-wide ban on the use of tobacco products, to begin mid-August, is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the community can enjoy the healthiest campus possible, which includes not only immediate physical health of humans, but the health of waterways. Cigarette butts release pollutants into the ecosystem as they break down.

Michigan State U Researchers Examine Building Demolition Process

To address the cycle of urban construction that leads to demolition of abandoned buildings, a university researcher is conducting a feasibility study to examine more sustainable options for managing abandoned properties. Rather than opting for demolition, where most materials are sent to the landfill, structures would be deconstructed for reuse and diverted from the landfill in an attempt to see if a different process could have both environmental and economic value to consumers.

North Carolina State U Pilots Zero Waste Workplace Program

In an effort to increase the waste diversion percentage from 50 to 65, the pilot Zero Waste Workplace program, coordinated by the university’s Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling, uses composting stations, desk-side mini waste bins, and self-service recycling and landfill sorting stations in one the campus' administrative buildings, which houses University Housekeeping and the University Sustainability Office.

Pennsylvania State U Sees Significant Reduction in Paper Use

By sharing helpful tips with students and faculty, students reduced paper usage by 44 percent and faculty by 10 percent in the 2015-16 academic year. A Paper Reduction Committee ran promotional campaigns on ways to reduce printing as well as promoted tips such as encouraging students to print double-sided, using the multiple pages per sheet printer function, and promoting use of an electronic document sharing solution.

U Texas Austin & Huston-Tillotson U Win College Sports Sustainability Contest

The University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University were announced as the two inaugural winners of the College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest at the Green Sports Alliance Summit. Designed to highlight college athletics' ability to influence fan sustainability behavior and boost college sports sustainability, the winners will receive a prize package valued at $50,000.

U British Columbia Diverts Nearly 100 Percent of Building C&D Waste

Nearly 100 percent of construction and demolition (C&D) waste from the university's General Services Administration building was diverted from the landfill by holding a sale of the equipment and furniture first, then ensuring the concrete and other debris were either reused or recycled.

Indiana U-Purdue U to Obtain Zero Waste Athletic Facility

The university's Natatorium will be ready to operate as a zero-waste athletic facility in June, becoming the first athletic facility in Indiana to achieve zero-waste goals and hosting the first Olympic event to have the zero-waste designation. Being a zero-waste venue means that by weight, 90 percent of all waste must be recycled or composted. Only 10 percent may be disposed of as trash.

U California San Diego Votes to End Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

A recent Associated Students Council resolution calls for the restriction of the sale of plastic water bottles in on-campus locations and proposes the installation of new hydration stations as well as increased access to disposable boxed water in order to support the university’s aim to be more sustainable.

Northern Arizona U Begins Food Scrap Composting

In addition to implementing the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge that diverts and tracks organic waste and the Food Recovery Network that helps move food to food banks, a new student-led collaboration at the university yielded machines that grind and dehydrate food waste so that it can be more easily composted and used in campus landscaping.