UofL recycling, reuse, composting, and waste minimization programs help keep waste out of the landfill.
The University of Louisville is taking a variety of steps to reduce the amount of waste generated on campus and to divert a greater percentage of our waste from going to landfills. In 2012, UofL reduced its annual waste generation by over 1.5 million pounds (an 18.3% reduction from 2011)! We recycled 2,709,476 pounds, or 41.3%, of our waste in 2012. We can do even better than that. Diversion programs include extensive recycling, reuse, composting, waste minimization, and other landfill diversion programs from the classroom to the construction site.
Water bottle filling stations, like those in the College of Business, make reusing bottles easier and eliminate the need to purchase bottled water.
- Bess McLaughlin, UofL Senior, Spring 2011
UofL's new Solid Waste Reduction Committee
In 2013, the Sustainability Council convened a new committee to take our existing programs to the next level. Phase I of our “Mini Bin” Garbage Reduction and Single Stream Recycling program are in place and the program has been the major factor in increasing recycling rates across the University, particularly in the areas of cardboard, paper, aluminum, glass and plastic. While the numbers have increased every year since the program’s inception in 2009, there are areas that need to be improved, including:
- Promotion of recycling programs - increasing awareness, understanding of program, individual prompts to increase recycling
- Changing University-wide culture to normalize recycling through behavioral change and institutional change
- Improving current methods and discovering new opportunities to reuse items University-wide
- Developing university-wide goals and systems to measure progress and provide feedback to the University community
- Custodial staff training, development of policies
regarding waste disposal, performance review
- Identification of specific waste
streams that can be minimized or eliminated, including modifications in purchasing habits
- Recycling at special events, including sports venues, conferences, catering, other large events
- Expanding pre- and post-consumer food waste composting
UofL's new Solid Waste Reduction Committee will attempt to address these concerns and we'd love to have your input. This voluntary committee will report to the Sustainable Operations Committee. To get involved, contact: Aaron Boggs <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Remember that the famous “Three Rs” are in order of priority: Reduce, Reuse…THEN Recycle! Learn why at The Story of Stuff.
- Drink Louisville's award-winning tap water instead of bottled water. Fill up your bottle easily at one of our many filling stations around campus, including:
Bettie Johnson Hall - lobby
College of Business - all floors
College of Education - by Dean’s office
Community Park - lobby
Ekstrom Library - 1st and 2nd floors, west side & Tulip Tree Café
Ford Hall - 3rd floor
Gottschalk Hall - 1st floor
Kurz Hall - lobby
Life Sciences - 3rd floor
Louisville Hall - lobby
Physical Plant - shop area
School of Music - library
Strickler Hall - 4th floor
Student Activities Center - all east side floors & in gym by racquetball courts
Unitas Hall - lobby
University Tower Apts - lobby
Urban Studies Institute - 1st and 2nd floors
(6 units to be installed at HSC in 2013-14)
- Go Paperless! Instead of printing, use electronic file-sharing like SharePoint or Blackboard.
- Instructors: Get the mobile app for paperless exams!
- If you must print, use both sides! All UofL Uniprint Stations now automatically print double-sided! This switch alone reduced our paper consumption by about 30,000 pages per month!
Bring reusable shopping bags instead of accepting new paper or plastic bags.
At mealtimes, use reusable items like mugs, cups, utensils, cloth napkins and towels rather than disposable products. If you're headed out, bring your own!
Use reusable filters instead of disposable ones in your furnace, coffeemaker, etc.
- Use rechargeable batteries rather than disposables.
- Avoid unnecessary purchases and excess packaging. Buy in bulk.
- Save some money and the planet by first seeking used and pre-owned items before shopping for new. UofL departments can freely exchange durbable items like furniture and equipment for reuse through UofL Surplus.
- Chemical Waste Minimization - Before you purchase a chemical for your lab, check UofL's CHEMEX inventory. You could save yourself money, while doing your part to reduce waste and avoid costly disposal.
- Unwanted Mail Reduction
Members of the UofL community are encouraged to seek creative ways to see that durable items are reused. This helps save money, reduces the amount of waste we send to the landfill, and reduces the environmental impact of producing and transporting new goods.
- UofL's Surplus property exchange program allows departments to freely swap reusable items like office furniture and equipment.
- UofL's online materials exchange board allows staff and faculty to post and search for reusable items such as excess packing/shipping materials, office supplies, furniture, vehicles, lab equipment, computer and audio/visual equipment, athletic equipment, and more! Login here.
- In Fall 2013, student volunteers opened a permanent Free Store for on-going exchange of clean, durable items like clothing, electronics, school supplies, furniture, and more. The store is open to all UofL students and employees on Fridays 3-5pm in the basement of Unitas Hall (enter from Cardinal Blvd near Brook Street). Volunteers wanted! Follow the Free Store on .
- UofL residents are also encouraged to exchange reusable items through the "Lighten Your Load" collections and associated Free Store hosted at the end of the year by Housing & Residence Life. Look for signs and collection bins as you think about moving out!
- Chemical Exchange: In our labs, an up-to-date chemical inventory can help avoid duplicate purchases. Chemical purchases can also be reduced by borrowing and sharing chemicals between laboratories. Departments are encouraged to exchange chemicals and lab personnel can also utilize CHEMEX: The Chemical Exchange Program through UofL's Dept. of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS). Chemicals that are unopened or partially used are eligible for CHEMEX. Opened chemical containers must be certified as uncontaminated not expired by the offering lab. Read more: Green Scene: DEHS Chemical Exchange Program
- From cans to magazines to batteries to computers...learn about the wide array of items that can be recycled at UofL here.
Organic wastes can be "recycled," too! Compost...It's Happening Here!
- You can now compost your own plant-based organics on campus at the Garden Commons, which set up four rolling compost bins next to the greenhouse behind the Cultural Center in 2011! Compost bins are also available at the new Horticulture Zone behind the Urban Studies Institute at 426 W. Bloom St. (behind Bettie Johnson Hall). No meat, bones, or dairy products are accepted in any of these on-site composting bins. This helps reduce problems with odors and vermin.
- UofL has been turning campus grounds waste into valuable compost and mulch on site for many years. UofL's research facilities also generate about 400 tons/year of waste animal
bedding. This used to be sent to the landfill, but in February 2012,
UofL began sending this waste stream to off-site composting facilities, where it is turned into an environmentally-responsible soil amendment.
- In July 2010, UofL volunteers began on-site composting of pre-consumer plant-based food waste from our dining facility kitchens. In March 2012, UofL established a new sub-contract with Blue Skies Recycling for collection and twice-weekly pick-up of all food wastes from UofL dining facilities as well as our Early Learning Campus. This allows us to compost both pre- and post-consumer food wastes, meats, bones, and dairy-products, totaling over 200,000 pounds/year.
- The new Cardinal Burger Company on the second level of the Student Activities Center not only features local food, but everything CBC serves and everything it is served on is compostable! When dining with us, please refrain from tossing your garbage in the compost bin (there's a landfill trash can by the door for those who need it).
- Full details about all of our Composting Programs here.