Feb 11, 2016 07:26 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. UofL has been on a trajectory of reducing our total annual waste generation since a peak in 2009. While
each year's total fluctuates with various factors such as major
construction and renovation projects, we are generally headed in the
right direction. There's still more we need to do in order to achieve
our goal of Zero Waste. In 2014, we recycled over 4.6 million pounds (55.7%) of our waste. Landfill diversion programs include extensive recycling, reuse, composting, waste minimization, and other waste reduction efforts 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."
Water bottle filling stations, like those in the College of Business, make reusing bottles easier and eliminate the need to purchase bottled water.
"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
UofL's 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
Solid Waste Reduction Committee is attempting 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.
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! ...Or, join the Zero-Waste Reusable To-Go Club:
In Fall 2015, we launched a brand new take-out service in truly
sustainable style – without adding to the waste stream!! Purchase your Ville Grill To-Go Club membership
in person at The Ville Grill for just $10. Membership earns you a
reusable container, unlimited washing of the container and compostable
cutlery & napkins, should you need them.
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 durable items like furniture and equipment for reuse through UofL Surplus.
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 Boat House College of Business - all floors College of Education - 1st floor Lobby and near Dean’s office Community Park - lobby Davidson Hall - 1st floor Ernst Hall - 1st floor Ekstrom Library - 1st & 2nd floors, & Tulip Tree Café Ford Hall - 1st & 3rd floors Gottschalk Hall - 1st floor Humana Gym Humanities - 1st floor J. B. Speed - 1st floor at elevator Kurz Hall - lobby Law School - 1st floor & 2nd floor east and west Life Sciences - 3rd floor Louisville Hall - lobby Lutz Hall - 1st & 3rd floors Lynn Soccer Stadium Music Library Natural Sciences - 1st floor Service Complex - 1st floor Strickler Hall - 1st & 4th floors Student Activities Center - all floors Student Rec Center - all floors Unitas Hall - lobby University Tower Apts - lobby Urban Studies Institute - 1st and 2nd floors W.S. Speed - 1st floor Kornhauser Library 2nd floor K Building 2nd floor Dental School 1st floor hallway School of Medicine (55A) 1st floor student lounge
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.
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 the Chemical Exchange Program (CHEMEX) offered by 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
In Fall 2013, students in Group Recycling And Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) joined forces with the UofL Sustainability Council and Campus Housing to open a permanent Free Store in the basement of Unitas Hall (enter
from Cardinal Blvd near Brook Street). The UofL Free Store is a space
for the on-going free exchange of clean, durable items like clothing,
shoes, electronics, small appliances, household items, bath &
beauty supplies, books, school & art supplies, non-perishable food,
and more. The store is run by volunteers and is open to all UofL
students and employees set hours each week during the regular academic
year. Volunteers wanted! Follow the Free Store on .
During Move-Out Time, UofL residents are also encouraged to exchange reusable items through the "Lighten Your Load" (or "Give and Go") collections and associated temporary Free Stores hosted at the end of the year by Campus Housing
in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. During UofL's 2015
Give & Go Move-Out Waste Reduction campaign, students donated 8,475 pounds of reusable goods to Goodwill! Look for signs and collection bins as you think about moving out!
Prior to the opening of the UofL Free Store, roughly 2000 pounds/year of used clothes and shoes were collected from 2012-14 in light green bins set up by a non-profit organization
at Miller Hall, Threlkeld Hall, Kurz Hall, Unitas Hall, and University
Tower Apartments. The Gaia Movement is a non-profit organization which
uses revenue from used clothing to support and on‐going environmental
and community development projects around the world. Clothes collected
at UofL helped fund efforts including a solar power project in Quissanga
District in Mozambique; a biogas project in Capo Delgado Province,
Mozambique; a solar power project in Changalane District, Mozambique;
and the Seeds for Life project in India.
Organic wastes can be "recycled," too!Compost...It's Happening Here!
You can compost your own food scraps on campus in bins at the: - Garden Commons (4 rolling compost bins next to the greenhouse behind the Cultural Center) - Horticulture Zone garden behind the Urban Studies Institute
at 426 W. Bloom St. (behind Bettie Johnson Hall). Or we'll come pick it
up for you! Special collection bins for plant-based materials picked-up
for composting by EcoReps volunteers are available at: - Louisville Hall (1st floor trash room) - Miller Hall (outside the north exit at the back of the building) - The Playhouse (Theatre Arts) - Cardinal Park (Athletics)
No meat, bones, or dairy products are accepted in any of these on-site composting bins. This helps reduce problems with odors and vermin.
has been turning about 500,000 pounds of 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. This effort continues to capture
various waste streams, but in March 2012, UofL established a new
contract with Blue Skies Recycling/QRS
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, now totaling over 360,000 pounds/year.
The Cardinal Burger Company
on the second level of the Student Activities Center not only features
local food and grass-fed, hormone- & antibiotics-free beef, but
everything CBC serves and everything it is served on is compostable!
When the CBC first opened in the fall of 2013, we experimented with
having a compost bin available to customers, but we had to discontinue
that program because of constant contamination with landfill trash. We
need volunteers who can help staff the composting station and educate
our guests. Contact: UofL Dining's sustainability coordinator, Charlie Clabaugh.