NWF Campus Race to Zero Waste Announces Winners
Across more than 200 college campuses in 43 states, 2.4 million students and more than 500,000 faculty and staff participated in the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste competition. This year there were 18 winners across seven categories.
U Virginia to Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Following a state executive order requiring state agencies to stop buying, selling and distributing certain plastics, the university stopped purchasing single-use plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic food containers and plastic straws as of July 21. The university will also phase out plastic water bottles and plastic bag liners over the coming year to the extent possible.
Emory U Signs 'Break Free From Plastic' Pledge
The university recently committed to establish a task force on plastics reduction and create a year-by-year single-use plastics reduction strategy in order to eliminate the procurement of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2026.
U Wisconsin Platteville Commits to Zero Waste
The chancellor announced during the university's recent Earth Day celebration a pledge to become a zero waste campus by 2035, defined as diverting 90 percent of unwanted items from landfills through recycling, composting or reusing.
Ohio State U Tests Waste Diversion Strategies
A new partnership between the university and a local entity will divert waste from the landfill by using the campus as a living laboratory to test waste diversion projects ranging from education and behavioral change to new recycling technologies. The aim of the collaboration is to scale up waste reduction solutions across central Ohio.
U Edinburgh Pilots Plastic Reduction Lab Initiative
(U.K.) A research group replaced single-use plastics, such as tools used to collect and transfer samples, with reusable equipment incorporating wood or metal. Where alternatives were not available, the group decontaminated plastic equipment for reuse with chemical cleaning before a second level of decontamination under heat and pressure. In implementing these practices, they avoided using 3,000 plastic items of equipment during a four-week period and saved more than $500 (400 British pounds) over a three-month period.
HEC Paris Launches Waste Reduction Initiatives
(France) The university rolled out a new initiative aimed at supporting a zero waste campus. It is sorting non-biodegradable from biodegradable waste in a 200 square meter space known as the Greenzone.
California State U San Marcos Begins Post-Consumer Composting
The university recently began a post-consumer composting program at an apartment complex, after the initiative was halted in the spring due to the pandemic. Implementing a post-consumer program is part of the university’s effort to reduce organic waste by 50 percent of 2014 rates this year and 75 percent by 2025. Post-consumer organic waste includes any cooked food scraps and can include other compostable items such as plates, utensils and napkins.
City Glasgow College Purchases Food Composter
(U.K.) The college recently invested in equipment to allow it to compost food waste on campus rather than hauling it to a facility. The new process allows food waste to be collected by staff in the on-campus kitchens, then processed through their dewatering system, before the substance is fed into the composter to create a nutritious compost resource in 14 days.
U Nebraska Lincoln Initiates Recycling Improvement Changes
The university will launch a new pilot program designed to make recycling processes universal in all campus buildings. It will be tested in eight buildings before being offered university-wide. The change comes after a survey of nearly 9,000 students, faculty and staff revealed that 95 percent of the campus community want improvements to the recycling process. Overall, the project aims to purchase 450 recycling stations. Along with setting campus guidelines for recycling and solid waste management, it will include standardized signage, posters and messaging; and a campaign to engage and educate students, faculty and staff about the benefits of pro-environmental behaviors.
U California to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics
As part of a commitment to achieve zero waste, the university recently adopted a policy that will transition UC away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations (by January 2021) and eventually eliminate single-use plastic food service items (by July 2021) and plastic bottles (by January 2023).
Georgia Tech Expands Recycling Program
The AWARE program (Actively Working to Achieve Resource Efficiency), which allows faculty and staff to understand their waste footprint by having them sort their materials as recycling or landfill, is now active across the entire campus. Building custodians will no longer service deskside or individual office waste containers.
Fairmont State U Obtains $27K Grant for Waste Solutions
The university’s Creative Sustainability Council (CSC), a campus organization focused on sustainability initiatives for the university and community, has been awarded a grant of $27,120 from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation to implement two sustainability initiatives on campus this summer. The first initiative, a glass recycling program, will introduce a glass crusher to campus. The second initiative will introduce a composting program on campus.
HKUST Reduces Waste With Digital Diploma/Transcript System
In an effort to reduce paper waste and thwart academic forgery, the university recently launched the Blockcerts platform, a user-friendly blockchain-based degree authentication system for documents such as graduation diplomas and academic transcripts. Saving time for graduates and staff, the system now allows graduates to receive cryptographically signed and tamper-proof electronic versions of their graduation diploma certificates. Starting in November, the university will begin providing electronic transcripts.
Recyclemania Announces 2020 Results
Across nearly 300 campuses in 43 states, more than 48 million pounds of waste was recycled, donated or composted over a five-week term (originally the term was eight weeks, but it was cut short due to COVID-19 closings). There were nine winners across nine categories this year. Additionally, in celebration of Recyclemania's 20th anniversary, the program announced a name change to Campus Race to Zero Waste.
Three Universities Collaborate on Waste Research
Princeton University, the University at Albany (lead university) and the University of Michigan, along with the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, recently announced a research collaboration to transform how organic waste, such as food waste, is handled. The goal is to develop economically viable methods to convert wet organic waste into high value products. The DOE has allocated $2.7 million to the project, and the consortium is adding an additional $709,550 to bring the total budget to more than $3.4 million.
SUNY ESF & Syracuse U Win $5K Waste Reduction Grant
The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), and NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) recently awarded the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University with $5,000 each for projects that focus on source reduction, reuse or recycling. SUNY ESF is developing a menstrual product accessibility and sustainability program, and Syracuse researchers will be studying incoming freshmen behaviors and attitudes toward waste and material use.
U California Berkeley to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
The university recently adopted a single-use elimination policy that seeks to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic, both non-recyclable and recyclable, by 2030. The ban focuses on food-ware and plastic bags, and addresses the spectrum of products and packaging used in campus academics, research, administration and events.
Stanford U Launches Zero Waste Campaign
Stanford's 2020 conservation campaign slogan is "Say Goodbye to Single Use: Reduce and Reuse", which encourages the campus community to use reusable drinking and dining items rather than ones designed to be used once and thrown away. In a new report, Stanford Sustainability Goal: Zero Waste by 2030, the university identified 45 campus programs that will guide the university along the path to zero waste, including new and existing programs.
SUNY ESF Pledges to Be Plastic-Free by 2025
In signing the Break Free From Plastic campus pledge, developed and maintained by Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), the college must maintain its zero-waste task force, eliminate all non-essential, non-compostable, single-use disposable plastics with readily available alternatives, establish a purchasing policy that provides a framework for the long-term elimination of those products, and implement college-wide systems that facilitate the proper collection and management of non-disposable products.
Medical U South Carolina Eliminates Single-Use Plastic
Following a city ordinance, the university has eliminated the use of plastic single-use carryout bags, polystyrene, and non-recyclable and non-compostable food containers and service wares, such as bowls, boxes, clamshells, cups, plates, stirrers and straws.
U California Los Angeles to Phase Out Single-Use Plastics
The draft single-use plastics policy, announced in late January, is scheduled to begin in July of this year by officially phasing out plastic utensils, cup lids, bowls, and plastic bags and similar food accessory items. Locally compostable or reusable alternatives would be provided only on request, and would shift over time to only reusable alternatives for all dine-in eaters.
Emerson College Eco Ambassadors Launch Thrift Store Pop Up
In an effort to raise awareness for the college's clothing exchange store, now the Tiny Thrift Store puts on a pop-up once per month. The store and pop-up give students a chance to donate, exchange and/or pick-up clothing free of charge.
Brandeis U Launches Plastic Waste Reduction Initiative
The university's Office of Sustainability has partnered with Sodexo to reduce plastic waste from bags, straws and bottled water. Several retail locations are introducing paper bags in lieu of plastic and making straws available by request only. Additionally, water bottle refill stations are being installed near retail locations that are removing bottled water options.
U Maine Receives Grant to Recycle Greenhouse Plastic
The university's Cooperative Extension has been awarded $38,764 by a State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection Waste Diversion Grant to develop a statewide pilot program to recycle agricultural greenhouse plastic. The program’s goal is to collect at least one-third of Maine’s annual waste greenhouse plastic, and partner with an end-user who can convert the collected plastic into resin feedstock used in the manufacture of new plastic products.
Rochester IT Bans Single-Use Plastics
Ahead of a state ban on plastic bags that begins March 1, the university is launching a Ditch the Disposables campaign that will eliminate plastic bags, straws and stirrers. The campaign will also encourage campus members to reduce plastic waste. There are no immediate plans to replace plastic spoons, forks and knives on campus, but alternatives are being studied.
U Pittsburgh Launches Textile Recycling Program
The university recently launched a textile recycling program to prevent clothing that is unsuitable for donation and other worn-out textiles from going to the landfill. The new program aims to help move the campus closer to its Pitt Sustainability Plan goal of reducing landfill waste 25 percent by 2030.
William & Mary Eliminates Single-Use Plastics
In addition to becoming certified by the Green Restaurant Association, Dining Services recently eliminated single-use plastics in two dining halls by changing behaviors, such as not putting straws out and using larger bulk containers made out of non-plastic material rather than offering individual jelly, butter and cream cheese servings.
Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge Announces 2019-20 Football Season Winners
The University of Colorado Boulder was recently announced as the overall winner of the 2019-20 Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge held during the football season. Earning subcategory wins across the challenge were the University of California, Berkeley (most-improved), Oregon State University (best student-athlete engagement) and Stanford University (best fan engagement). The competition, which happens for both the football and basketball season, encourages campuses to move towards zero waste and be creative on developing best practices, whether it be directly through reuse, recycling, and composting or by working with partners to drive impactful changes.
U Tennessee Knoxville Commits to 2030 Waste Goal
The university recently committed to diverting half of its waste from landfills by 2030 as part of a larger goal of becoming a zero waste institution. The diversion rate in 2018 was 33 percent.
Vanderbilt U Announces Zero Waste By 2030 Goal
The university recently announced its commitment to achieving a 90 percent diversion rate from the landfill and reducing the amount of waste generated on campus by 30 percent, both by 2030. Additionally, the institution committed to addressing emissions related to waste disposal and recycling.
Clarkson U Receives Grant for Food Waste Education
The university has recently received a $35,000 grant as a part of their E² Energy to Educate grant program. The funding will allow Clarkson to expand its current partnership with Canton Central School and engage more than 1,000 K-12 students in a district-wide food waste collection system and education program.
Santa Clara U Wins Reusable Water Bottle Competition
A competition hosted by Hyundai challenged the campus communities of Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University to opt for reusable instead of plastic water bottles. Santa Clara University prevailed with 60,022 water bottle refills. Hyundai presented a $100,000 grant to Santa Clara University’s Office of Sustainability.
U Washington Begins Reusable To-Go Container Pilot
The student organization Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) recently implemented the Ozzi reusable container pilot project. The goal of the project is to reduce single-use compostable containers. Students can obtain reusable containers with their to-go food. Once they finish using the containers, they can return them to select machines, where they are given a token. Students can then use the token in exchange for another reusable container for their next to-go purchase.
Vanderbilt U Pilots Reusable To Go Containers
Vanderbilt Campus Dining will pilot the new Choose to Reuse program that will provide students reusable to-go containers. The campaign aims to eliminate disposable containers. Organizers hope to launch the program campus-wide in fall 2020.