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.
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 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 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.
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.
NACUFS Announces Sustainability Award Winners
The National Association of College & University Food Services announced the 2016 awardees for its four categories. Outreach and Engagement winners are Brown University Dining Services (Gold), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Silver) and Virginia Tech University (Bronze). Waste Management winners are Princeton University (Gold), Colorado State University (Silver) and Johnson County Community College (Bronze). Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the Procurement Practices category are, respectively, Harvard University Dining Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Green Champion Student winner is Sarah Leann Ross at Colorado State University.
Michigan State U Students Discover Solution for Polystyrene
A group of students from the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) program is researching the use of mealworms to degrade this material beyond the industry standard of 20 percent. Funded by the Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund, the Meals for Mealworms project was proposed, researched and executed by freshman students, earning them an invitation to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Starts Styrofoam Recycling Program
Styrecycle, a specialty recycling program created in 2016 by the university, aims to reduce the volume of expanded polystyrene headed to the landfill by using a Styrofoam densifier, a machine that grinds the plastic into small beads and extrudes it in a very dense tube. A local company in Urbana houses and operates the University-owned densifier for free in exchange for the proceeds from the sale of densified Styrofoam.
Washington U St. Louis Releases Report on Bottled Water Ban
The new report indicates that bottled beverage sales at the university have plummeted 39 percent since 2009, a reduction of 567,000 bottles in the 2014-15 academic year relative to the 2008-09 academic year. The school initiated the ban as part of its comprehensive efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
American U Building Claims LEED Silver
Earning Silver certification in the LEED for Existing Buildings category, American University's Gray Hall features LEED-approved air-quality levels, adherence to a green cleaning program, water-efficient sinks, toilets and landscaping practices. The building uses 100 percent renewable energy via renewable energy credits and offsets.
RecycleMania Reports 2016 Tournament Results
Richland College, a two-year community college was recently crowned Grand Champion of the 2016 competition with a recycling rate of 82 percent. Loyola Marymount University won in the Per Capita Classic category with the highest total weight of recyclables per person, and North Lake College won in the Waste Minimization category with the least overall waste per person. Overall, 350 schools across North America recycled or composted a combined total of 79.3 million pounds of materials.
U South Carolina Enters Partnership with Biofuels Company
Through the new partnership, Midland Biofuels takes used cooking oil produced by the school and turns it into biofuel that they then sell. A portion of each gallon sold will then be donated to the university program. Midland Biofuels recently presented the university with $1,239 that will be used for sustainability programs on campus.
Wilfrid Laurier U Curbs End-of-Year Waste
The university's newest effort to reduce unwanted, end-of-year move-out material from going to the landfill includes a temporary drop-off site where students can deposit unwanted items to be recycled and reused.