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.
Rollins College Bans Straws
Plastic straws have now been removed from all food services on campus. Paper and pasta straws will be available upon request and cups now have lids with openings to drink from directly.
Vanderbilt U Dining Reduces Meat Purchases & Plastic Waste
In addition to offering more plant-based options, such as a "cauliflower steak" and a wheat- and potato-protein burger, the university's dining facilities are also reducing the amount of beef used in burgers by replacing about a quarter of it with mushrooms. This is expected to reduce their meat purchases by about 700 pounds per month. Plastic straws, cold cup lids and plastic bags will be phased out in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
U Edinburgh Charges for Disposable Cups
(U.K.) As of August 2018, all hot drink prices in university cafes will be lowered to show the price customers will pay if they bring their own reusable cup, while customers without cups will be charged a small fee to purchase a disposable cup. This reverses the previous pricing structure in which all hot drinks prices were for disposable cups, with customers who brought a reusable cup receiving a discount.
U Washington Reduces Plastic Waste With Bamboo Toothbrushes
Thanks to an undergraduate student, the university's School of Dentistry is now replacing some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. The toothbrushes' handles are made from wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer. The student secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which come from a company that donates part of its profits to a women's shelter in Seattle.
Bucknell U Diverts Food to Animals in Behavior Program
Since last fall, Bucknell University Dining has donated excess fruit and vegetable cuttings to its Animal Behavior Program, which is used to supplement the diets of the roughly 50 primates housed on campus. The donated food has allowed the Animal Behavior Program to cut its supplemental food budget in half.
Duke U Bans Disposable Plastics
All 34 dining locations on the university’s campus are now required to no longer carry single-use plastic carryout bags, plastic hot and cold beverage cups, plastic straws, and plastic utensils. In recent years, Duke Dining has also eliminated its use of bleached paper products and Styrofoam. Dining venues will now use paper bags and utensils, and straws and drinkware made from a Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plant-based substance with properties similar to traditional, oil-based plastics.
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
U Glasgow Initiates Deposit System for Bottles & Cans
(Scotland) A newly installed machine accepts the campus community's recyclable bottles in exchange for a deposit. For every bottle that is accepted, a donation to a charity that raises funds for the university's cancer research is made.
Harvard U Adopts Sustainable IT Standards
The new standards focus on actionable recommendations that schools and departments can adopt in three core areas – waste, energy and practice – aimed at reducing the environmental impact of technology. The Sustainable IT Standards were created by the Green IT Working Group that comprises IT, operations and facilities professionals, in collaboration with the Office for Sustainability and Harvard University Information Technology.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.
U Virginia Hosts Event Series On Waste Minimization in Labs
This spring, the university’s Green Labs program launched a three part event series focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling in research-intensive spaces. Part one was a webinar on lab minimalism that covered the benefits of environmentally preferred purchasing and sharing lab equipment. Part two was a swap that allowed labs to donate and claim unused and surplus material. Lastly, the university is piloting a lab recycling program focused on diverting lab plastics.
Penn State U University Park Reduces Plastic Bag Use
A new program called EcoCoin aiming to reduce the number of plastic bags used at the Penn State Bookstore give customers the option to take a plastic bag or receive an EcoCoin. Customers can then place the EcoCoin into one of three boxes, each one representing a student philanthropy organization engaged in social impact for sustainable development. Each EcoCoin represents a 5-cent donation. On top of the total amount collected through EcoCoins, the Penn State Bookstore will contribute $500 per semester to each organization.
U Virginia Students Pledge a Balloon-Free Graduation
A new pledge from the Office for Sustainability and Green Greeks is challenging the long-standing tradition of graduates letting balloons go during their graduation ceremony. The balloon-free pledge was introduced for the first time this year as a mental reminder to students to consider the consequences of using balloons. Instead of balloons, other more environmentally-friendly methods of celebration were suggested for graduation by the Green Greeks, such as bubble blowers or garden spinners.
Dartmouth College Introduces Paper Straws
Dartmouth Dining Services has transitioned from the use of standard plastic straws to red-and-white-striped biodegradable paper straws in an effort attain a higher certification level in the Green Restaurant Association program.
U Maryland Students Develop Educational Recycling App
In an effort to reduce contamination in recycling and compost bins, three university students created an app, Recyclify, that teaches users how to properly separate their waste. The app provides users with a full list of recyclable and compostable items from each restaurant at the food court. It tracks students' recycling behavior and awards points that are redeemable for discounts at certain restaurants.
U Tennessee Replaces Paper Towels With Hand Dryers
A total of 1,034 hand dryers will be installed in restrooms of academic buildings across campus. Paper towels will remain in break rooms, kitchens and labs. This project aims to reduce waste and paper towels, which make up more campus waste than any other single item. Hand dryers will also result in less labor to clean and maintain restrooms, reduce transportation for deliveries of paper towels, save liners, a costly custodial supply item, and prevent litter and overflowing trash cans in restrooms.
DePauw U Dining Hall Receives LEED Gold
The university's Hoover Dining Hall is a 48,600 square-foot facility that seats more than 600 people in the main dining room with an array of smaller dining rooms that provide additional seating options. Food Services implements zero waste initiatives, such as reusable carry-out boxes, trayless dining, composting and using leftover fruit peels to make infused water. The university also donates leftover food to those in need and gives a portion of its scraps to local farmers for livestock feed.
Acadia U to Eliminate Plastic Straws
At the request of students, Chartwells, Acadia’s food service provider, committed to eliminating plastic straws from retail and dining hall operations. ASU food and bar services have also reduced straws in operations as part of a campaign led by several students in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
Arizona State U Partners with MLB to Reduce Waste at Baseball Games
Major League Baseball and the university's School of Sustainability recently announced that a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Students will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.
Eight Hong Kong Institutions Launch 'Skip the Straw' Initiative
(Hong Kong) The City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Education University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and The University of Hong Kong aim to reduce plastic waste by introducing regular awareness campaigns and no straw days or implementing a campus-wide ban of plastic straws.
McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus
On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.
U North Carolina Chapel Hill to Recycle Stadium Bleachers
About 200,000 pounds of high-grade aluminum bleachers from the university's Kenan Stadium were recently sold to a business from Statesville, North Carolina, that specializes in recycling various types of metals. The university expects the value of selling the metal to offset the cost of paying to remove the bleachers and power wash the stadium once the bleachers are removed. The aluminum bleachers will be replaced by 34,000 individual chair back seats.
18 Higher Education Schools Win 2017 Recycling Grant
The Coca-Cola Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant supports recycling in communities by providing bins to expand recycling opportunities in public spaces. There were 50 awardees total, 18 of which were universities and colleges, selected from among more than 800 applicants.
U California Merced Receives Grant for Food Reduction Program
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will issue the university $100,000 over three years to develop and implement a mobile food-waste prevention and storage distribution center that diverts food waste from the landfill.
Radford U Begins Bags for Benches Program
The university's student government association and sustainability office have partnered to collect unwanted plastic bags. The bags will be mailed to an outdoor decking and furniture company to be recycled into benches that will be placed around campus.
Loyola U Maryland Implements Zero-Tolerance Policy on Plastic Bags
In an effort to avoid being fined for recycling contamination, on Jan. 1, 2018, Loyola implemented a zero-tolerance policy on plastic bags found in campus recycling bins. The university could be fined $950 for contamination, which also includes food, liquids or non-recyclable material.
North Carolina State U Launches Composting Program in Campus Apartments
Residents of a campus apartment complex now have access to kitchen composting courtesy of a compost collection program started by a student. So far, about 60 apartments are participating in the program, which requires residents to empty their containers in an outdoor composting dumpster. The material is then transported to a nearby composting facility for processing.
Northern Arizona U Pilots Reusable Containers
In an effort to reduce waste and recycling, the university implemented a program in January 2018 to gauge student interest in using reusable containers. Students pay a one-time fee of $5 for a container that can be used at several dining facilities. The NAU Green Fund spearheaded the campaign to get the container system on campus.
Princeton U Pilots Food Waste Biodigester
Beginning in February 2018, the university will pilot an in-vessel aerobic digester that will convert a portion of campus food waste into a soil amendment for university grounds, while serving as a living laboratory for multi-disciplinary investigations into all aspects of food waste conversion.
North Carolina State U Uses Compostable Cups
Through a new partnership between the University Sustainability Office and Waste Reduction and Recycling, NC State Dining started using compostable cups in early January at two major dining locations on campus. This expands an existing compostable selection at the student union that includes napkins, to-go containers and single-use bamboo plates.
Emory U Students Create Educational Waste Diversion Videos
Multiple two-minute videos were created by Emory students that educate viewers about the importance of landfill waste diversion, including the social and environmental impacts of landfills. The videos were submitted on behalf of a video competition as part of the university's zero waste commitment, which aims to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025.
Emory U Creates Zero Waste Policy
In an effort to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025, the university recently formalized its commitment by publishing a new waste management policy that engages the entire campus in the push to enhance recycling efforts. The new policy calls for adding additional collection stations, making existing stations more efficient and creating a new team to assist with removal of compost and recycling at campus stations.
Cornell U Living Lab Waste Project Reduces Contamination
The student club WasteNot prototyped designs for waste sorting signage that is more user-friendly and inclusive of the international community by featuring clear directions in several languages and visual cues. In the first pilot with the redesigned signage, total contamination dropped by 10 percent for landfill, 17 percent for recycling and 19 percent for compost. Plans are underway to roll out piloted designs across campus facilities.