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 Bath Introduces Recycling for Bags & Oral Care Products

(U.K.) A new recycling scheme on campus collects snack packaging, such as chip and pretzel bags, and oral hygiene products, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes.

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.

Purdue U Eliminates Plastic Straws

Beginning March 18, Purdue Dining & Catering is making the switch from plastic to paper straws in its residential and retail outlets.

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 Maine Begins Using Bioplastic Food Packages

Beginning this semester, the university began using compostable plant-based bioplastic packages for food in the Memorial Union.

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.

American College Greece Launches Plastic-Free Campaign

The new initiative seeks to reduce the amount of single-use plastic by encouraging the campus community to use a reusable mug and water bottle at vendors and hydration stations across campus.

Northwestern U Releases Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan

Following a waste audit in 2017, the university adopted its first Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan. The plan identifies strategies for diverting 50 percent of campus waste from landfills by 2020.

Northern Arizona U Dining Eliminates Plastic Straws

Following the national trend to reduce the use of plastic straws, the university will now offer 100 percent compostable straws made of cornstarch to patrons upon request only.

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.

East Carolina U Introduces Community Food Pantry

The Purple Pantry is a food bank aimed at reducing food insecurity for students–both those that are food insecure and those in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

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.

Vanderbilt U Buys Solar Trash Compactors & Electric Mowers

Starting fall 2018, students can enroll in designated courses that increase their knowledge of sustainability as reflected in the human and scientific dimensions as well as ethics and policy.

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.

Stony Brook U Joins County in Eliminating Plastic Straws

The university recently signed onto a county-wide initiative aimed at eliminating plastic straws. Instead of plastic, all campus dining locations other than Starbucks will now offer special straws made of polylactic acid.

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.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale Debuts Water Refill Station for Outdoor Events

Designed and built by employees from the Plant and Service Operations plumbing shop, the Water Dawg refill stations provide potable water, reducing the need to provide bottled water at outdoor events.

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.

Marquette U Eliminates Plastic Straws

The university is currently in the process of replacing plastic straws with paper straws at retail dining locations across campus.

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.