Harvard U Commencement Luncheon Achieves 95% Recycling Rate

With the efforts of Harvard University (MA) Green Team members, the custodial team and undergraduate Dorm Crew workers, Harvard Law School was able to compost or recycle 95 percent of the waste generated at its recent commencement luncheon. The 5,000 guests received recyclable and compostable materials in their commencement lunch boxes that they then brought to the recycling tent, where volunteers sorted the waste into trash, compost and recycling.

U Chicago Reduces Paper Use with 'Print Sprint Tournament'

In an effort to reduce the amount of copies and printouts, the University of Chicago (IL) recently held the inaugural Print Sprint Tournament in its Young Building. Streamlined printing processes and reduced excess printing were identified by Facilities Services' SAGE Ambassadors as priority goals for greening the building. The single-elimination style tournament lasted three days and only the winners of each day's match-up advanced to the next round. The daily winners were those who produced fewer printouts and copies than their opponent, and the overall tournament winners were treated to a catered lunch.

U Mass Medical School Streamlines Rechargeable Battery Recycling

The University of Massachusetts Medical School has partnered with the nonprofit organization Call2Recycle in an effort to streamline the recycling of rechargeable batteries and provide a useful second life for them. Pre-labeled boxes will allow departments to collect and mail old rechargeable batteries for recycling at no cost. The collected batteries are then recycled into new batteries and other stainless steel products. Hazardous materials that can be reused, such as gold and silver, are reclaimed while any remaining hazardous materials are treated properly for disposal.

U Chicago E-Waste Event Diverts 43,000 Pounds from Landfill

The University of Chicago's (IL) recent e-waste collection event netted more than 43,000 pounds of electronic and scientific equipment for recycling. The university's second e-waste event drew hundreds of community members and university staff, faculty and students who brought items ranging from laptops and computer monitors to batteries and shredders. Of the total, 6,500 pounds of computer equipment will refurbished and distributed to area schools by Computers for Schools.

York U Reduces Campus Waste by 23% with ZeroWaste Program

York University (ON) recently announced a 23 percent reduction in campus waste as a result of its ZeroWaste Program. The campus community decreased the amount of paper waste by 46 percent and the program has expanded recently to include the recycling of batteries, small electronics, appliances, ink cartridges and more. Paper towel dispensers are also gradually being replaced with hand dryers in restrooms in high use areas. Launched in June 2010, the university's goal is to divert 65 percent of total campus waste by 2013.

College of the Atlantic Student Turns Food Waste into Energy

A College of the Atlantic (ME) student has created a start-up business that turns food waste into an alcohol-based, butanol fuel at the college’s Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery. A half-gallon of fuel can be produced within a week. As part of the college’s new sustainable venture incubator, the student and partners hope to receive additional grants in the fall to help purchase larger equipment to increase fuel production. The goal is to use food waste from the college cafeteria and surrounding businesses to produce enough butanol to replace gas and heating oil on campus.

RecycleMania Competition Recycles 91 Million Pounds

The 11th annual RecycleMania concluded its eight-week challenge to increase on-campus recycling rates in early April. This year, 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of nearly 270 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The competition ran from February 6 - April 2, 2011.

Coastal Carolina U Holds Campus Salvage Yard Sale

Coastal Carolina University’s (SC) annual Campus Salvage yard sale has collected $2,000 toward campus sustainability efforts. Students living in residence halls on campus filled 25 PODS with donations during move-out week. Donations included electronics, lamps, bedding, rugs, appliances, clothing and food. The sustainability team made donations to local nonprofits prior to the community sale.

USA Today Covers Rise in Recycled Graduation Gown Orders

More than 250 institutions have ordered graduation attire this year made from recycled plastic bottles from Virginia-based Oak Hall Cap & Gown, up from 60 last year, reports USA Today in a recent article. George Mason University (VA), which recently graduated 7,392 students in the recycled gowns, is mentioned. With an average of 23 bottles to make each cap and gown, Oak Hall Cap & Gown estimates that it is keeping more than seven million plastic bottles out of landfills. Students also have the option of dropping them off at a recycling bin where they can be turned into yet another product. Other institutions are using graduation gowns made from biodegradable wood pulp. In related news, Hartwick College's (NY) Commencement Committee also chose Oak Hall's graduation outfits for its 2011 graduation ceremony. The college’s Grassroots Environmental Club also asked the graduating class to sign the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibilities upon graduating. The pledge states: "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work." The mission is to build a global community of responsible graduates improving society and the environment through the workplace.

Western Carolina U Students Donate Items to Goodwill

Western Carolina University’s (NC) Department of Residential Living recently partnered with Goodwill Industries to collect donations from students as they moved out of the residence halls in order to reduce the volume of reusable items entering the waste system. Goodwill provided bins in the residence halls for students to drop off items. Students have donated 7,812 pounds of items including clothing, fans, coffee makers, microwaves, televisions, shelving and cookware.

Colorado State U Installs Fully Automated Composting System

Colorado State University's Housing & Dining Services has invested in a fully-automated composting system called the Earth Flow. Pre- and post-consumer food waste from campus dining centers is composted in the enclosed, 30-yard capacity compost bin. The Earth Flow accepts 2,000 pounds of material per day and composting is completed in 15 days inside the bin. The compost is piled on-site to cure for at least three to four weeks before being used in landscaping projects on campus.

Ohio State U Has Zero Waste Plans for Football Stadium

The Ohio State University has announced plans to make its entire football stadium a Zero Waste Zone. The goal of the Zero Waste project is to achieve a 90 percent diversion rate of waste material such as food, paper products and plastics away from landfills. To help achieve this goal by the end of the 2012 season, the university will not place trash cans on the premises. The initiative is supported by the Department of Athletics and by a $50,000 grant from the President’s and Provost’s Council on Sustainability.

U California Santa Barbara Library Boosts Recycling Efforts

The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library has provided 100 additional recycling bins to increase its trash diversion efforts and help students limit garbage waste. The campus plans to implement several recommendations from a waste audit of the facility by Green Project Consultants including posting recycling material guidelines near garbage receptacles and limiting organic and biodegradable materials that are sent directly to landfills. The university is also looking into developing a compost system for food-related materials, which make up 20 percent of the total waste.

U Tennessee Expands Composting Ground

The University of Tennessee has expanded its Make Orange Green campaign with the addition of a new composting program. The university had been composting only leaves and coffee grounds and as a result of recent construction, the composting site was relocated to a secluded spot. The new site will collect pre-consumer food waste including coffee grounds, vegetable scraps and fruit rinds. Meat and dairy products will be accepted once the program has collected enough wood chips and leaves.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Unveils Dry Fermentation Anaerobic Digester

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has debuted its dry fermentation anaerobic digester. The renewable energy facility includes heat and power generators that will produce up to 5 percent of the campus’ electricity and heat. The dry bio-digester will resemble an indoor composting site with air filters and will require up to 8,000 tons of organic bio-waste per year. The project is a collaborative effort with funding received from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation, Wisconsin Focus on Energy and the federal government.

Oregon State U Offers Campus Compost Options

Oregon State University has started offering several options for university departments to compost organic waste. Worm bins are now available for those who would like to manage their own composting and keep the finished compost. Buckets will be provided to those who would like to collect organic waste and then dump it at one of three compost drop points around campus. A trial collection route has also been created for larger departments. Limited to 15 participants, the initiative will investigate whether the new service could become permanent.

Southern Oregon U Students Approve Ban on Bottled Water Sales

Southern Oregon University’s student government has passed legislation banning the sale of bottled water on campus. Under the provisions of the bill, bottled water would be removed from vending machines and Sodexo operations on campus. Reusable water bottles will be given to incoming freshmen at orientation and several spigots and water purifiers will be installed across campus. The goal of the bill is to have the campus completely water bottle-free by June 2012. The administration has shown support for the ban.

Temple U Offers Graduation Gown Recycling

Temple University (PA) has announced that graduates this year will be able to recycle their gowns after the graduation day. The university has offered graduation gowns made from 100 percent recycled plastic since January 2010, but this year sustainability ambassadors will also be on hand to collect the gowns to be made into new fabrics and other products. Since adopting the Greenweaver gown, made from roughly 23 recycled plastic bottles, the university has saved more than 276,000 plastic bottles from entering the waste stream.

U Oregon Creates Reusable Office Supply Exchange

The University of Oregon’s Campus Recycling office has created a Reusable Office Supply Exchange, available to all departments, faculty, administrators and student groups. The self-service program brings together surplus supplies from around campus including pens, notebooks, staplers and calculators. The university hopes to reduce the purchase of new office supplies and prevent old supplies from being sent to landfills.

Kansas State U Performs Waste Audit to Increase Recycling

Kansas State University's "Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences" capstone class has partnered with the K-State Recycling Committee to perform a campus waste audit. The group will sort through trash and determine what recyclable products students and faculty are throwing away. The audit will give the university a better understanding of how to target solutions to increase the campus recycling rate, which is currently about 20 percent.

Ohio State U Announces New Waste Reduction Efforts

The Ohio State University's Energy Services and Sustainability office recently announced several new programs aimed at meeting the university's goal to divert 40 percent of its waste from the landfill. Initiatives in the works include the creation of the new Zero Waste Event Service that provides waste containers for trash, recycling and compost for special events on campus; the testing of a pre-consumer composting program at specific areas on campus; and waste infrastructure and waste stream audits by staff, students and community volunteers for the Ohio State Spring Game. The information gathered will be used for its Zero Waste Stadium initiative, with at least 90 percent of game day waste recycled or composted starting with the 2011 football season.

SUNY Oswego Launches Campus Donation Initiative

State University of New York at Oswego has created the Leave Green initiative to encourage students residing off campus to donate household and personal items as they prepare to leave town for the summer. Items to be collected include clothing, linens, rugs, kitchenware and appliances, electronics, furniture, office and school supplies, unopened cleaning products and nonperishable foods. The collected goods will be donated to local organizations.

U San Diego Opens E-Waste Collection Center

The University of San Diego (CA) has opened an E-Waste Collection Center near campus. The center is open six days a week and accepts the following items: microwave ovens, gaming consoles, DVD players, VCRs, telephones, cell phones, digital cameras, radios, stereo components, cables and cords, televisions, flat panel displays, computer monitors, computers (CPUs), laptops, keyboards, printers, mice, hard drives, tape drives, networking equipment, modems, routers, switches, servers, printed circuit boards, lab equipment, fax machines, power supplies and zip drives.

Arizona State U Students Conduct Waste Audit

Students in Arizona State University's School of Sustainability recently conducted a 15-hour organic waste audit that resulted in more than 800 pounds and 69 bags of organic waste, recyclables and trash. With the aim of working toward a more sustainable solution to manage organic waste generated on campus, the students sorted through items destined for the landfill or a recycling facility. One-third of the compiled trash included pre-consumer compostable materials that didn't make it to the intended users including uncooked waffle batter and 45 pounds of raw meat and fat scraps. Understanding the makeup of its waste footprint is the first step in determining what strategies the university can implement to reduce food waste.

Carnegie Mellon Debuts 'Giving Wall' Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University (PA) has unveiled the "Giving Wall," an initiative to curb excessive waste. The Giving Wall is based on the idea of a lost and found station, where students can discard unwanted items on a row of shelves in the basement of the University Center. The items are up for grabs to anyone who wants them. In addition to hoping for an increase in campus recycling, the university aims to benefit the community by re-gifting items to those who need them.

U Pacific Students to Graduate in Recycled Gowns

Students graduating in May from the University of the Pacific (CA) will be wearing gowns made out of recycled plastic bottles. Each gown will consist of recycled plastic from 23 plastic bottles. After the ceremony, the robes will be returned to recycling bins where they will be reused in years to come.

Elmhurst College Holds E-Waste Recycling Event

Elmhurst College (IL) recently held a one-day event for students, staff, faculty and community members to drop off old televisions, computer monitors and other electronic waste in a trailer that was taken to a private business for recycling. The event was an effort to minimize electronic waste by making it easier to recycle electronic appliances.

Lake Superior College Students Repurpose Styrofoam

Students participating in Lake Superior College’s (MN) Integrated Manufacturing Program have created a solution to help divert packaging Styrofoam from the landfill. The Styrofoam shredder, designed as a prototype, shreds large Styrofoam packaging material to be recycled as packing material, stuffing for bean bag chairs, dog beds and outdoor planters. The project recently won a gold medal in the Community Service category at the State SkillsUSA competition.

American U Advances Composting Program

American University (DC) has expanded its composting program to include paper towels. This change is the result of an audit conducted by the student sustainability group, Green Eagles, which revealed that paper towels in the residence halls accounted for 150 pounds of daily garbage. Biodegradable green bags have been installed in all campus bathrooms to mitigate the waste.

Fleming College Frost Campus to Phase Out Bottled Water

Fleming College's (ON) Frost campus has announced plans to be bottled water free by this time next year. A joint initiative developed by students and supported by faculty, staff and administration, the plan to eliminate the sale of bottled water on campus includes the immediate identification of "Bottled Water Free Zones" on campus, an audit of access to public water on campus and a plan to upgrade the availability of public drinking water.

RecycleMania Announces 2011 Final Results

Continuing its six-year streak, California State University, San Marcos earned Grand Champion status of the 2011 RecycleMania competition. More than 600 colleges and universities participated in RecyleMania this year, recycling or composting 91 million pounds of material during the course of the eight-week competition. Union College (NY) won both the Per Capita Classic and Cardboard awards; North Lake College (TX) retained the Waste Minimization title; Brandeis University (MA) won the top spot in the Food Waste Organics category; and Stetson University (FL) earned first place in the Paper category. Rounding out the list, Rutgers University (NJ) earned the Gorilla Prize and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (MA) won the Cans and Bottles category. The University of Virginia's "True Love" video won the inaugural RecycleMania video contest, selected out of eight finalists offered up to a popular vote through the RecycleMania Facebook page.

Texas Wesleyan U Athletes, Actors Initiate Recycling Program

The gymnastics team and theatre troupe at Texas Wesleyan University have joined together to start a recycling program. There was no recycling available on campus before the two teams contacted the Facilities Services director about implementing their plan. Once approved, the students began the first phase by installing aluminum recycling bins in every building on campus. As the program raises money, they plan to install recycling bins for more products in years to come.

Concordia U Plans for Bottled Water Bans

Concordia University (QC) has announced a three-year plan to upgrade drinking fountains in most campus buildings to accommodate reusable drink containers and remove bottled water for sale in vending machines. The university will launch an education and communication campaign to promote the use of refill stations on campus.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College Greens Printing Services

Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA) is working with Xerox Corporation to reconfigure its printing services to be more environmentally sustainable. Expected to cut operational costs by $1.5 million, the five-year contract will consolidate all printers, copiers and fax machines, and introduce a new pop-up window that reminds users to save paper and ink by not printing unnecessary documents.

U Wisconsin-Whitewater Offers e-Waste Recycling

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus has started a campus-wide initiative to recycle e-waste. As part of the three phases of the TREE (Technology Repurposing and Electronics E-cycling) program, the university will upgrade its surplus computers program, establish ink recycling bins and offer surplus computer equipment for sale.

College of Saint Benedict Bans Sale of Bottled Water

As part of its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035, the College of Saint Benedict (MN) has banned "the sale of plain, plastic bottled water on campus, and the purchase of plain, plastic bottled water with institutional funds," states a recently announced new policy. The policy, which was endorsed by the college's Cabinet, Sustainability Council and the Student Senate, will go into effect in August 2011 at the start of the new academic year.

Harvard U Expands Composting Program

After a recent waste audit that revealed that 25 percent of campus waste at Harvard University (MA) is organic material, the university's Green Team and the Green Living program made compost bins available at every dormitory, academic and administrative building on the Harvard Law School campus. The audit also found up to 40 percent compostable waste being thrown away in dorm garbage cans.

Seattle U Campus Recycling Rate Jumps 11%

Seattle University (WA) has announced that its overall campus recycling and composting rate is 60 percent, an 11 percent increase in the past year. The university received the Recycler of the Year award last year from Washington State Recycling Association. The university maintains compost collection in residence halls, which is hauled to Cedar Grove, a company that produces natural, local compost for farmers and gardeners across the Northwest.

U Louisville Adds Food Composting to Campus Community Garden

The University of Louisville (KY) has added food composting to its campus community gardening initiative. With a $13,5000 grant from a private company, the university plans to place six to eight 90-gallon compost drums for food waste at the Garden Commons site and equip student residence halls with five-gallon buckets for students to throw food waste into. The compost produced will fertilize the garden.

U South Carolina Students Perform Trash Inventory

Twenty undergraduate students at the University of South Carolina are sorting through the contents of campus dumpsters to determine how many recyclables are being thrown away. The waste audit is part of an effort to make an informed investment toward the improvement of campus recycling. The audit, which looks at purchasing, custodial services, collections and recycling practices at all levels of the university's operations, will wrap up in December.

Hartwick College Switches to Zero Sort Recycling

Hartwick College (NY) has implemented a Zero Sort Recycling program on campus, doubling the amount of recyclable materials collected during the month of February. All manner of recyclable material may now be placed, without sorting, on the recycling side of the new dumpsters on the college's campus.

Rice U Introduces Single-Stream Recycling

Rice University (TX) has announced the conversion of its campus recycling system to single stream, allowing the campus community to place all recyclable materials in one single bin. The move allows for more types of plastic to be recycled and the campus has already seen an increase in campus recycling efforts in data being collected for this year's RecycleMania Tournament.

U Georgia Athens Campus Recycling Hits 50% Mark

The University of Georgia, Athens has announced that it is now recycling about 50 percent of its campus waste. The university is testing a prototype musical recycling bin that plays 16 seconds of the university’s football fight song each time a bottle or can is deposited in the bin and hopes to get a grant to test more of the bins, powered by small solar panels, across campus. The university is also looking into the cost of including a recycling bin that is attached to every trash can on campus.

Iowa State U Students Pilot Campus Bus Biodiesel Project

Iowa State University students are working to convert campus buses to run on used vegetable oil from the cafeteria. The team's grease processor is expected to produce 55 gallons of fuel per week. If the program is successful, the students plan to ramp up production by processing waste oil from local restaurants and selling the waste vegetable oil as biodiesel.

Yale U Works to Decrease Dorm Waste

Yale University's (CT) College Council has announced that it will direct $10,000 toward projects aimed at decreasing wasteful student habits. The primary projects include a Summer Storage program that allows students to store their items at the school before leaving for the summer break; the Spring Salvage and Trash to Treasure programs that promote reusable items through second-hand sales; and rentable Hydration Stations that will replace bottled water during outdoor events.

U Calgary Expands Recycling Efforts

The University of Calgary (AB) has announced the addition of hundreds of new recycling bins across campus. The multi-phase upgrade to the university's waste and recycling infrastructure kicked off 800 new blue bins for recycling paper/cardboard and beverage containers. The bins will include new signage that clearly indicates what can or cannot go inside.

U Chicago Debuts Recycling Directory

In an effort to assist the campus community to recycle as many everyday items as possible, the University of Chicago (IL) has launched a new Recycling Directory that compiles campus and other local recycling resources. The items included range from cosmetics and eyeglasses to appliances and batteries. Each item in the directory contains a brief description about the importance of recycling the item, followed by options for recycling on campus (if available) as well as in the City of Chicago.

U Iowa Partners with City Dump for Methane Gas Project

The University of Iowa plans to buy methane gas from Iowa City’s landfill and pipe it over to heat facilities on its campus. The university will pay the city for this service, and Iowa City plans to spend $2 million for the gas conditioning and compression equipment, while the university will spend $500,000 updating engines to burn the landfill gas. The project is not touted as less expensive, but as an opportunity to operate facilities on fuel that would otherwise be garbage.

U Maryland Exceeds Recycling Goals

With a recycling rate of 63 percent, the University of Maryland has surpassed its 2010 recycling goal. The university's single-stream recycling efforts, Can the Can program and the addition of grass and leaves composting contributed to a rate of 3 percent higher than its Climate Action Plan called for. This waste diversion rate is up from 17 percent in 2003.

U Canberra Bans Bottled Water Sales on Campus

The University of Canberra (Australia) has banned the sale of bottled water on campus. Bottled water will be replaced in campus cafes and shops by water vending machines that refill reusable water bottles at a cheaper price than bottled water. The university has also installed six water bottle refill stations on campus. The ban is estimated to reduce water bottle sales by 140,000 bottles per year.