Apr 26, 2013 03:09 PM
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.
Reducing Waste at UofL
Trash Mob Flash Mob!
The mini-bin is a reminder that we can recycle most everything at UofL!
UofL students in GRASS (Group Recycling And Sustainable Solutions) have
helped change the disposable culture on campus through awareness raising
campaigns such as "dumpster dives."
"Having conducted about 200 Tap Water Challenges on campus, I have found that about 88% of students prefer the taste of Louisville Tap to Aquafina (which is simply tap water from Indiana) or Kroger bottled water (tap water from Virginia)!" - Bess McLaughlin, UofL Senior, Spring 2011
Water bottle filling stations, like those in the College of Business, help with bottle reuse and eliminate the need to purchase bottled water.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Students are encouraged to exchange useful items like clothing, books, electronics, office supplies, furniture and more through "Lighten Your Load" collections and a Free Store hosted at the end of the year by Housing & Residence Life. Look for signs and promotional announcements as you think about moving out! Students are also developing a permanent Free Store to be hosted in the basement of Unitas Hall, opening Fall 2013: Sustainability at UofL: GRASS develops Free Store (The Louisville Cardinal, April 3, 2013)
In 2012, UofL launched a new partnership with the Gaia Movement to collect used clothes and shoes in light green bins set up around Belknap campus. The Gaia Movement is a non-profit organization which promotes environmentally sustainable practices locally through the reuse of clothes while supporting and funding on‐going environmental and community development projects around the world. The proceeds from Gaia’s clothing sales are used to co-fund several environmental projects in Africa and India. Gaia funds the Connect International Project which provides access to water and sanitation through low cost technologies in Mozambique and Zambia. Gaia also co-funds the Pumps for Life project in Zambia, the Biofuels project in Guinea Bissau, the Eco-Service Center and the Solar Energy project in India, all of which help empower poor farming communities. Additionally, Gaia continues to donate toys and books to children in need and winter coats to the homeless.
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 organics on campus at the Garden Commons, which set up four rolling compost bins next to the greenhouse behind the Cultural Center in 2011!
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.