Concordia U invests $2M in Local Circular Economy Fund
The university's foundation recently announced a $2 million contribution to a Québec-based, circular economy initiative, launched in March 2021 by Fondaction, in partnership with the City of Montreal and Recyc-Québec. The fund aims to accelerate ecological transition through the circular economy, notably by reducing the production of residual materials and supporting their recovery, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
U Sussex to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
(U.K.) The university recently committed to eliminating avoidable single-use plastics from catering, stationery, laboratories, residence halls, offices and events by 2025. Where the use of plastics is unavoidable, the university has pledged to encourage the use of recycled plastics, and support manufacturers that make products from locally sourced waste plastics.
PLAN Announces Inaugural Top 10 Zero Waste Campuses
The Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) released recently the first annual list of Top 10 Zero Waste Campuses in the U.S., as assessed by PLAN’s Atlas Zero Waste Certification Program. Atlas is a holistic assessment framework for measuring waste reduction on college and university campuses.
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.