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 Connecticut Honors Women's History Month With Free Menstrual Cups

The university's Office of Sustainability and Undergraduate Student Government partnered with OrganiCup, a Danish company that manufactures reusable menstrual cups, to give out 500 free menstrual cups to students during Women’s History Month.

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.

U Southern California Residence Halls Offer Composting

Sixty compost collection bins are now installed at university-owned housing. The materials are sorted and eventually transformed into biofuels for transportation or energy production.

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.

U California Santa Cruz Switches to Recycled Commencement Gowns

The bookstore will now offer commencement gowns made from 100 percent recyclable materials.

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.

U Hawai'i Mānoa to Install 20 Water Bottle Refill Stations

The Office of Planning and Facilities plans to install 20 water bottle refill stations, after a campus survey revealed that one of the top three issues concerning the campus community is plastic waste.

California State U Channel Islands Receives Grant for Plastic Pollution Research

The university recently received a grant for a special microscope that will aid undergraduates in identifying the chemical fingerprint of microplastics, which is used to determine the sources of plastic pollution. The aim of the research is to measure the effectiveness of microplastic reduction programs.

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.

Hope College Launches Reusable Cup Campaign

Through the new Cupanion Cup Initiative, students, faculty and staff can purchase a reusable cup for $5 and use the Fill it Forward app to track the impact of using the cup on waste, power and emissions.

Thammasat U Initiates Rooftop Solar & Plastic Elimination

The university is installing a 10-megawatt photovoltaic system that is projected to generate approximately one-third of the electricity it consumes. Additionally, all convenience stores on the campus will stop using single-use plastic containers and will discontinue using plastic bags on January 1, 2020.

Syracuse U Launches Composting Program for On-Campus Apartments

After a successful, 10-week composting pilot at the beginning of 2019, the university recently launched the Student Composting Program for its South Campus residents.

U North Carolina Wilmington Begins Recycling Polystyrene

A new polystyrene densifier enables the university to recycle polystyrene products, such as to-go food containers, coffee cups and packing materials. The university is also inviting the general public to dropoff polystyrene for recycling.

Princeton U Pilots Reusable Utensil Kit Opt-In

As a part of its zero-waste campus goal, the university's Office of Sustainability is piloting a reusable utensil kit opt-in for the Class of 2023. The reusable utensil kit, which is free to students who opt-in, consists of a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks, all made of bamboo. A total of 350 students have opted-in, 88 percent of who are from Class of 2023.

U Louisville Contributes Old Stadium Seating for City Bus Stops

A partnership between the University of Louisville's Urban Design Studio and Louisville Metro Council saved 120 seats from going to the landfill as the former Cardinal Stadium was demolished earlier this year. Instead, the seats are being installed at some of the city's bus stops.

Montclair State U Students Help Improve Polystyrene Recycling

A group of students through the university's Institute for Sustainability Studies Green Team program helped study and improve a local circular recycling system for polystyrene. In addition to calculating the savings from disposal charges and the return on investment, the team developed promotional strategies aimed at dispelling the myth that polystyrene cannot be recycled.

U Oregon Residential Dining to Focus on Reusable Dishware

Beginning fall quarter, all residential dining centers at the university will serve meals on reusable plates, bowls and silverware. This change from single-use, disposable dishes and cutlery will affect approximately 15,000 meals each day when school is in session. This change was prompted by compost collectors discontinuing any collection of plant-based plasticware, wood and paper products.

Iowa State U Initiates Waste Reduction Changes

Working towards their zero waste by 2025 goal, the university recently began shredding cardboard for animal bedding at its farm rather than having it hauled to a recycling company. The reused cardboard will then be composted and used across campus. Beginning in fall 2019, all on-campus student residents will have in-room recycling containers.

U California Merced Launches 'No Food Left Behind' Initiative

The No Food Left Behind initiative provides the campus community with two ways to help ensure there is no food waste for catered events on campus. Students, faculty and staff can sign up for text alerts when leftover food might be available after a catered event, and event attendees may bring food containers to take remaining food after the event is over.

Sul Ross State U Installs Water Bottle Filling Stations

After a number of sustainability-related concerns were expressed in a 2019 campus satisfaction survey, the university installed two new water-bottle filling stations with two more set to be operational in September.

Vanderbilt U Eliminates Single-Use Plastic Water & Soda Bottles

The university recently announced it will eliminate all single-use plastic water and soda bottles in its operations throughout dining facilities, markets and vending machines. Starting this academic year, all undergraduate students will be given a reusable aluminum Vanderbilt tumbler for use at hydration stations throughout campus.

Ohio U Receives Grant to Expand Zero Waste Efforts

The university was recently awarded an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Recycling Grant of nearly $130,000 that, combined with internal matching funds, will allocate more than $160,000 toward a 12-month project to improve the collection and processing of organic waste on campus. The grant money will be used for three main improvements, which include installing stationary co-located bins in the Convocation Center and using a portable conveyer to assist with sorting.

University Grants Commission of India Encourages Ban on Single-Use Plastics

(India) The University Grants Commission of India has issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic, including in their canteens, hostels and shopping complexes. The higher education regulator, while issuing the guidelines, said that plastic waste has emerged as one of the biggest environmental concerns adversely impacting the soil, water, health and well-being of citizens at large and that time has come for a systematic campaign to reduce the usage of plastics.

College William & Mary Incoming Students Create Bags From T-Shirts

Incoming new students participating in the college's community service pre-orientation program transformed hundreds of old t-shirts into tote bags that will be used by a local food pantry.

U Colorado Boulder Introduces Aluminum Cup at Stadium

A new partnership was recently announced that will bring Ball Corporation's recyclable aluminum cup to the university's Folsom Field during the 2019 football season. The CU Athletic Department hopes to significantly reduce plastic use in the stadium during the 2019 season, with the university's goal of becoming plastic-free in sports venues by 2020.

Simon Fraser U Reduces Single-Use Plastics

The university recently rolled out the “Re-use for Good” initiative, which is a multi-phase action plan to raise awareness and work towards eliminating the most common single-use plastics and products at the university. Phase one will be implemented this fall and includes adding reusable water bottles to campus vending machines, mapping the location of existing water bottle refill stations and deciding where to strategically locate additional stations, replacing plastic and compostable utensils and stir sticks with metal flatware, and removing plastic straws.

U Technology Sydney Opens Plastic-Free Food Court

(Australia) As part of the UTS Plastic Free by 2020 strategy, the new food court is replacing single-use plastic items with reusable or certified compostable alternatives, like cardboard, paper, bamboo, sugarcane and bio-plastic.

Dickinson College Introduces Food Waste Reduction Program

The college's Dining Services is rolling out Pick Your Portion, a student-proposed program that aims to reduce food waste, as part of a greater initiative to become carbon-neutral by 2020. The program gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to customize portion sizes at every meal.

U Saskatchewan Begins Using Compost On Campus

For the first time, grounds crews at the university are using compost from campus food waste, that is dehydrated and composted together with landscaping waste, to fertilize campus gardens, flower beds and athletic fields.

American College Greece Holds Plastic Free Day

The first ever Plastic Free Day aimed to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and encouraged the community use reusable items when ordering at all on-campus locations.

Cornell U Removes Plastic Bag Recycle Stations

Campus plastic bag recycling collection sites will be phased out of Cornell’s campus after New York State legislation passed a law effectively banning consumer plastic bags. The ban is set to go into effect no later than March 2020. Citing concerns about difficulty recycling this type of material and restrictions from China, the college encourages the campus community to redirect clean bags back to their original source for recycling.

U St Andrews Reduces Plastic Bottle Use

(U.K.) More than 40,000 plastic bottles will be removed from circulation annually from the local community thanks to a new partnership with Brita. A glass bottling system has been installed to provide bottled water for catering across the campus and self-service still and sparkling water dispensing units have been installed in its three retail cafes.

U Otago Discontinues Using Disposable Cups

(New Zealand) Three cafes at the university's Dunedin campus have recently discontinued offering single-use cups. Patrons can bring their own or choose to borrow a cup, which will be free for about two weeks, then will be offered for a deposit fee.