Small-scale waste reduction projects
In effort to reduce the amount of waste associated with student move-in, many different University departments on campus have worked together to responsibly recycle or even donate items that would have otherwise been disposed of. These are small-scale move-in projects with large-scale impacts.
In preparation for students to move in for the academic year, Residential Life Facilities did their part by repurposing used bedding and mattresses that had been replaced. They donated approximately 24 wool blankets, 450 bed spreads, 57 mattresses, and 3 laundry carts to the Salvation Army this summer. The group was also responsible for donating 260 pounds of ceiling tiles to Habitat for Humanity so that they could be reused in homes for those in need.
Once students started moving in, the EcoReps assisted in collecting cardboard boxes and polystyrene from their fellow classmates to be recycled. Temporary recycling bins were placed outside of the residence halls to ensure adequate collection space to recycle all of the cardboard boxes that were brought in by students. As students were moving in throughout the day, the EcoReps worked to collect, break down, and place boxes in these bins. EcoReps also collected polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) from students as they unpacked electronics, furniture and other items. Although polystyrene cannot be recycled through the county’s standard recycling program, the University works with the local company Thermal Foams to provide a special service for this event. The EcoReps ended up collecting over 145 pounds, or about 189 cubic feet, of polystyrene from the first year move-in day.
The Campus Mail Center has also been working to reduce waste. As online orders and mailed packages have increased over the past several years, so has the amount of cardboard boxes generated in this area. A temporary cardboard recycling container was also placed outside of the facility to ensure that the boxes from the amount of packages students receive can be recycled. The Campus Mail Center also collects excess packaging peanuts and bubble wrap as the bins from the Package Reuse Station fill up. The material is delivered to a local UPS Store so they can be reused.
The University was able to make an impact by saving so many items from the landfill. By donating and recycling, these items can have a longer life and can make a huge difference in people’s lives.
Written by Mariah Greico, Class of 2018