New York U Announces Plastic Bottle Policy
As part of an institution-wide drive toward creating a more sustainable campus, the university president recently announced that NYU will no longer purchase single-use plastic water bottles, effective January 1, 2020. The new policy is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year. The plastic bottle policy was one of several sustainability-focused initiatives. Other initiatives include replacing fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles, reducing "k-cup" waste, and making events more sustainable.
U Hawai'i Repurposes 4K Misprinted Mugs
The university redistributed 4,000 brand new reusable mugs that were headed to the landfill due to a misprint to the Mānoa, West Oʻahu, and Maui College campuses of the University of Hawai'i, and Honolulu, Windward, and Kapiʻolani Community Colleges. UH Mānoa Dining Services is subsequently launching a bring-your-own-cup campaign while distributing the rescued mugs to students.
U Wisconsin–Madison Launches Reusable Takeout Container Program
Beginning in fall 2018, the university's dining services started a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in dining facilities. Tokens for the containers are $5 each. After containers have been used, students can return them via a vending machine-like drop-off where, in exchange, they are given a new token.
U Connecticut Dining Stops Using Plastic Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are no longer used at Grab & Go locations on campus, a decision made by the university's Department of Dining Services in collaboration with a zero waste campaign. Brown paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and reusable will now be available at the cost of ten cents each. Dining Services will be working with the zero waste group this semester to establish drop-off containers for paper bags that can then be reused by other customers at no cost. Additionally, reusable pocket size shopping bags will be available for sale.
U Maine Presque Isle Receives Composting Grant
The new grant project, in collaboration with the university’s Agricultural Science and Environmental Science and Sustainability faculty, Green Committee, Facilities crew, and campus food service vendor Sodexo, will allow the university to establish an on-campus, year-round food composting effort. The $5,650 grant came from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
U California Berkeley Building Earns True Zero Waste Platinum & LEED Platinum Certification
Chou Hall at the Haas School of Business now has two Platinum certifications, one covering waste reduction efforts and the other for the building's energy-efficient design and operation. The True Zero Waste certification comes after more than a year of dedicated waste sorting, composting and other waste reduction efforts to divert over 90 percent of the building's landfill waste.
Yale U Pilots Charging Fee for Waste Disposal
This month, Yale launched a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) pilot program in select locations across campus. The pilot includes three different tactics for waste reduction, with two of them containing “test bills," which show how much the building would be charged for the quantity of trash produced. The third approach is comprised of sending monthly waste data and engaging in competition to encourage positive behavior change. The PAYT approach differs from the current protocol, whereby buildings are charged based on square footage, regardless of the amount of waste produced. The program supports the university's diversion goal to achieve a diversion rate of 60 percent by 2024.
EPA Announces Food Recovery Challenge Winners
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Challenge highlights outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. California State University, Northridge and University of Texas at Arlington, Texas were 2018 national winners. In addition to national awards, EPA regional offices across the country provided recognition to Food Recovery Challenge participants for outstanding accomplishments in preventing and diverting wasted food. Regional winners include Boston College, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Skidmore College, and the University of Pittsburgh.
U Montreal Reduces Leftover Food Waste
In an effort to reduce food waste, the university's food service provider launched a new project to sell meals, sandwiches, salads and other surplus food at cost to students living in residence.
Cleveland State U Begins Campaign to Reduce Plastic Straw Use
CSU Dining implemented a new initiative to reduce the amount of plastic and single-use waste generated on campus. The “Skip the Straw” program, which began in early November, gives straws only for select beverages such as a smoothie. Most retail outlets will keep straws behind the counter and made available by request only.
Central Michigan U Begins Composting Pizza Boxes
Because grease and food toppings on pizza boxes largely exempt the material from being recycled, the university began a program to compost pizza boxes. The initiative was spearheaded by Residence Life.
Salem State U Arts Building Achieves LEED Gold
The Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts demonstrates a 28 percent energy cost reduction and achieves a 32 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to a baseline building. More than 75 percent of the existing building structures were reused. The entire project site was redesigned to improve building accessibility and public entry.
Southern Illinois U Carbondale Launches Green Office Program
The new Green Office SLEUTH (Student-Led Energy-Use Treasure Hunts) program is a joint project of the university's Sustainability Office and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. Selected students will work with campus offices to find ways to reduce energy use and adopt good recycling techniques. At the end of the program, students receive $500 and a certificate at the completion of the assignment.
U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding
(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.
U Manitoba Launches Single-Use Cup Reduction Campaign
Following a waste audit that resulted in a public disposable cup display to raise awareness for how many cups are used, the Office of Sustainability launched a Choose to Refuse Single-Use Cups campaign in an effort to reduce the nearly 1.2 million disposable coffee cups used in an academic year.
U Texas Dallas Begins Post-Consumer Composting
In addition to pre-consumer food waste from meal preparation, now students in one dining hall will be able to scrape everything from their plates, including food waste and napkins, into composting bins before placing their plates, cups and utensils in the dish return area. The university will use an outside contractor for composting. The transition was aided by prior changes including eliminating trays, straws and plastic foam cups.
Trinity College Formalizes Composting Program
Expanding the former, student-led program, the college will begin working with an outside contractor in November to collect food scraps eight times per month. Implementation of this expanded program puts the college's dining hall closer toward its goal of getting Green Restaurant certified.
U New Mexico Begins Denim Recycling Partnership
The university’s Environment Coalition partnered with the Blue Jeans Go Green program to kick off a denim recycling effort to turn the collected material into insulation. Once the denim is processed, it is turned into a non-toxic denim insulation that gets donated to eligible grant programs or sent out to various Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
San Francisco State U Receives $60K for Textile Waste Diversion
With a $60,000 grant from the San Francisco Department of the Environment, two faculty founded the Wear Movement, a project dedicated to extending the lifecycle of clothing. Students run a weekly pop-up event to collect and sell clean clothing that students, faculty and staff contribute.
U College Cork Opens Plastic-Free Cafe
(Ireland) The university's Bio Green Cafe was renovated in August 2018 and reopened as a plastic-free cafe after having implementing a number of strategies to totally eliminate all single-use plastic. Measures include replacing plastic drink bottles with glass and cans, removing disposable cutlery and plastic sauce packets, using ceramic mugs for hot beverages, and eliminating plastic-wrapped snacks.
Princeton U Dining Diversifies Food & Reduces Plastic Use
The culinary team spent the summer reworking all the menus in the Frist Food Gallery with the goal of including healthier, globally diverse menu options. Plastic water bottles were replaced by refillable cups, glass bottles and several types of carton water. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags, now available by request. Silverware were moved to a more prominent position and for to-go orders, plant-based utensils are given. Paper and plastic straws are now available at the cashier stations upon request.
U California Expands Systemwide Sustainability Goals
As part of its Carbon Neutrality Initiative, the university now aims to provide 100 percent of its electricity across its campuses and medical centers from clean sources by 2025. Additional goals include reducing energy-use intensity by 2 percent year over year and discontinuing on-site fossil fuel combustion for water and space heating in new buildings and major renovations after June 2019. Enhanced purchasing requirements supporting sustainable sourcing were adopted and each campus will reduce municipal solid waste 25 percent by 2025, and by 50 percent by 2030.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Launches Green Laboratory Program
Launched in August 2018, the Certified Green Lab Program is for university labs that commit to sustainability through actions like reducing waste, conserving energy and abiding by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. The lab program is managed by the university's Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.
U Tennessee Knoxville Initiates Smoke-Free Campus Policy
In an effort to protect the health and safety of university students, employees and visitors and to promote a healthy and safe work, educational and living environment, the university passed a smoke-free policy and procedure, which prohibits smoking in and on all university property, including smoking in private vehicles when parked or operated on university property. The policy also prohibits littering on university property with tobacco products or the remains of any tobacco products.
Lehigh U to Phase Out Plastic Straws
The university will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones across campus by Sept. 11. Plastic straw bans have raised concern among disability rights groups, which is why the university decided against a ban. Dining services staff will provide reasonable access to plastic straws for people who need them.
Sonoma State U Bans Plastic Straws
The university is enacting California's Assembly Bill 1884, which prohibits any sit-down food facility from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the customer. Culinary services will switch to paper straws.
Baylor U Removes Plastic Straws From Cafeterias
This semester the university pulled plastic straws from routine use in cafeterias operating in Baylor’s four residence halls. Students wanting a plastic straw must request one. Straws will be available for take-out orders.
U Louisiana Lafayette Adds Composting at Football Games
As part of a larger campus-wide effort to produce zero waste, the university is replacing trash cans inside Cajun Field with stations that hold separate bins for compost and recycling. The stadium will serve food on biodegradable plates or in reusable containers instead of plastic-lined paper products. Wooden spoons, forks and knives will replace plastic utensils. Fans will consume beverages from either aluminum cans or recyclable plastic cups, and they can request compostable straws.
Lehigh U Installs Solar-Powered Recycling & Trash Receptacles
The university is removing more than 150 open-top trash cans and replacing them with Bigbelly trash and recycle bins in an effort to cut labor and waste costs. The bins have a sensor and compactor mechanism powered by the sun that allows the material inside to be compressed when it senses the trash level is too high. Then when the bin is full, a red light blinks and trash collectors are notified through an app on their phones.
U Iowa Launches Dorm Room Composting
The university launched a composting initiative for first-year and other students living in the residence halls after recent building trash audits revealed that about 30 percent of waste was organic material. The sustainability office made available 1,125 individual compost bins at a recent open house.
Pace U Moves Toward Plastic-Free Campus
The university's Elisabeth Haub School of Law will no longer use non-reusable water bottles, plastic straws, disposable plates or cutlery. Instead, paper straws, china and metal flatware will be used in the cafeteria. In addition, at all of its programs, the school will not use paper or plastic products and will provide water-bottle fill stations rather than individual plastic water bottles.
Rollins College Bans Straws
Plastic straws have now been removed from all food services on campus. Paper and pasta straws will be available upon request and cups now have lids with openings to drink from directly.
Vanderbilt U Dining Reduces Meat Purchases & Plastic Waste
In addition to offering more plant-based options, such as a "cauliflower steak" and a wheat- and potato-protein burger, the university's dining facilities are also reducing the amount of beef used in burgers by replacing about a quarter of it with mushrooms. This is expected to reduce their meat purchases by about 700 pounds per month. Plastic straws, cold cup lids and plastic bags will be phased out in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
U Edinburgh Charges for Disposable Cups
(U.K.) As of August 2018, all hot drink prices in university cafes will be lowered to show the price customers will pay if they bring their own reusable cup, while customers without cups will be charged a small fee to purchase a disposable cup. This reverses the previous pricing structure in which all hot drinks prices were for disposable cups, with customers who brought a reusable cup receiving a discount.
U Washington Reduces Plastic Waste With Bamboo Toothbrushes
Thanks to an undergraduate student, the university's School of Dentistry is now replacing some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. The toothbrushes' handles are made from wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer. The student secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which come from a company that donates part of its profits to a women's shelter in Seattle.
Bucknell U Diverts Food to Animals in Behavior Program
Since last fall, Bucknell University Dining has donated excess fruit and vegetable cuttings to its Animal Behavior Program, which is used to supplement the diets of the roughly 50 primates housed on campus. The donated food has allowed the Animal Behavior Program to cut its supplemental food budget in half.
Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
All 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are now required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam. Dining venues will now use paper bags and utensils, and straws and drinkware made from a Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plant-based substance with properties similar to traditional, oil-based plastics.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
U Glasgow Initiates Deposit System for Bottles & Cans
(Scotland) A newly installed machine accepts the campus community's recyclable bottles in exchange for a deposit. For every bottle that is accepted, a donation to a charity that raises funds for the university's cancer research is made.
Harvard U Adopts Sustainable IT Standards
The new standards focus on actionable recommendations that schools and departments can adopt in three core areas – waste, energy and practice – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of technology. The Sustainable IT Standards were created by the Green IT Working Group that comprises IT, operations and facilities professionals, in collaboration with the Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.