Yale U Eliminates Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles at Commencement
In an effort to reduce waste, the university eliminated 11,000 single-use bottles by encouraging honorees and guests to bring their own reusable bottles or use compostable cups at one of six different hydration stations. In previous years, Yale distributed more than 300 cases of individual plastic water bottles, many of which were left unopened.
U East London Students Tackle Plastic Waste on Beaches
(U.K.) The charity GreenSeas Trust approached the university's product design academics to ask if students would be interested in creating an impactful design for a bin that would inspire more people on beaches to dispose of plastic waste in bins. Two third-year students designed and created a bin in the shape of a life ring that will be rolled out on June 5, World Environment Day.
RecycleMania Tournament Reveals 2019 Winners
Loyola Marymount U took top place in the Diversion and Per Capita Classic, while Knox College clinched first in Food Organics. Winners in one-time reporting categories included The Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Saint Louis University, Southwestern College and Union College. The 2019 competition engaged students and staff at 300 colleges in the U.S. and Canada who recycled and composted 69.8 million pounds of materials.
Kapi‘olani CC Reduces Graduation Attire Waste
Students at the community college will collect caps and gowns at their commencement ceremony in May. In an effort to divert them from the landfill, they plan to sanitize the caps and gowns to make them available for rental to future graduates.
27 Colleges & Universities Receive PepsiCo Recycling Grant
Now in its third year, PepsiCo Recycling's Zero Impact Fund allows representatives or employees of eligible colleges or universities to submit proposals to create or strengthen sustainable initiatives on campus. Winners receive up to $10,000 towards making those ideas a reality. There are 27 colleges and universities receiving funding for campus sustainability initiatives in the 2018-19 school year.
California State U Los Angeles Bans Plastic Straws & Bags
As of April 8, food vendors at the university are no longer offering plastic straws or carryout bags. Instead, paper alternatives will be available. The move is part of a new California State University system policy that aims to eliminate single-use plastic straws, plastic bags and water bottles on all 23 campuses by 2023. Styrofoam food service items will be phased out by 2021 and the use of single-use plastic water bottles will end in 2023.
U Notre Dame Installs Food Waste-to-Energy System
The new food waste system converts non-consumable food waste to renewable energy by composting it anaerobically. The gas is used for energy while the solid byproduct is used as a fertilizer at a local farm. Two additional systems will be installed in the near future that will reduce non-consumable food waste by 99 percent.
U Maryland Baltimore Building Achieves LEED Gold
The university's School of Medicine building now features a green roof planted with native and adaptive plants, a cistern water collection system, high-performance glazing on the south façade, natural ventilation, high-efficiency flush fixtures, low-flow sinks, secure bike storage spaces and shower facilities.
Pennsylvania State U Expands EcoCoin Program
Launched at the University Park campus bookstore last summer, the EcoCoin program offers patrons the option of receiving a plastic bag at checkout, or forgoing the bag and instead donating the nickel the store would have spent on their bag to a student philanthropic organization engaged in sustainable development. Now the EcoCoin program is expanding to a total of 22 retail locations - the Penn State Bookstore, Market East at University Park, and 19 commonwealth campus bookstore locations.
U California Riverside to Place Solar Trash Compactors
The Office of Sustainability and Transportation and Parking Services have ordered several BigBelly bins to be placed in high traffic areas across campus in an effort to increase the rate of recycling and streamline the amount of time crews spend checking waste and recycling bins.
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.