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Journey to Zero Waste

Zero Waste Day 2019

On Thursday, September 26th we held our annual Journey to Zero Waste Day. Approximately 650 - 700 attendees came out to enjoy a free lunch, Kona Ice and collect some cool sustainable swag.

A few examples below - a reusable snack bag, a pen tool with screwdriver bits, a bamboo utensil set and more!
snack bag tool pen utensils

Our recycling program has evolved from "reduce, reuse, recycle" to encourage a more comprehensive methodology to minimize waste produced on campus. Members from each of the CSU campuses have collaborated to develop the following zero waste hierarchy: rethink, reduce, reuse/return, recycle/compost, responsible disposal.

A zero waste goal does not mean there is no waste, it is a functional zero meaning the campus operates to continually strive to reduce how much waste goes to the landfill.

  • Rethink

    Become an educated consumer and really evaluate what you purchase.

    Is it made of quality material? Don't buy something just because it's cheap and on sale. Is there an option made from recycled content? How many times will it be used? How will it be disposed when you no longer want it?  Don't buy styrofoam, it never goes away!

  • Reduce

    How to reduce what you put in the trash.

    Ask yourself - do I really need this?  Look at the packaging, is there an option packaged in recyclable material? Can you buy a larger container and share with a friend so there's less waste? Request online purchases to be grouped for shipping so fewer boxes are used.

    In an effort to reduce single use plastic on our campus Energy Management & Utility Services has distributed over 1,100 sets of bamboo utensil sets and 700 metals straws over the past year.

  • Reuse/Return

    Evaluate what you put in the trash.

    Is it really trash? Or is the item still usable?  Can someone else use it?  Can it be donated or repaired?

    During Move-Out in May 2019 UVA & The Quad donated over 2,400 lbs in non-perishable food to the Cougar Pantry. In addition, over 14,500 lbs of reusable items were donated to Goodwill.

    For our 2nd year collecting for our dormitory re-use program over 1,100lbs was diverted from the landfill.  In addition to kitchen items (pans, cups, utensils) we also collected other household items such as fans, mirrors and hangers.

    This items were re-distributed to residents at move-in for FREE!

  • Recycle

    Please ask if you have any questions on recycling -

    Are you placing recyclable items in the trash? Our waste hauler makes recycling super easy. We can recycle metal, plastic, paper and cardboard all in one container.

    Do you want to see where our recycling goes? Here's a link to see the off-site sorting facility.

    All materials with a recycle triangle can be recycled with the only exception being plastic films (like grocery bags, food wrap, shipping air bags, etc).  Make sure you toss your recycle materials in the recycle bins and keep it out of the landfill!

    While we currently meet the Assembly Bill 341 mandate, we are continually looking for opportunities to reduce our impact on local landfills and meet our goal of becoming a Zero Waste campus by 2025.

  • Compost/Organics

    As a campus, our next major step in recycling is preemptively achieving AB 1826; a phased implementation to removing organic material (compost) from landfill disposal.  We are currently working with our waste hauler to develop a large scale program. Here's a link to their highly anticipated anaerobic digester.

    In the interim, we will continue to compost all coffee grounds and pre-consumer food waste (fruit and vegetable peels) from Dining Services, on campus coffee areas and a few small office areas.  In 2016 this averaged over 600 pounds a week of food waste.

  • Responsible Disposal

    Batteries, e-waste (anything that plugs in or takes batteries) and inkjet/printer cartridges do not go in the trash. The campus collects these items to keep them out of the landfill and uses vendors to ensure they are properly disposed of and/or recycled.

    We also have programs that work behind the scenes to properly dispose of the campus's landscaping waste and construction debris.

    Have questions?

Journey to Zero Waste Day!

In 2018 we updated our annual Thank You for Recycling Day event to Journey to Zero Waste Day. To encourage sustainability and reduce waste on campus we gave away stainless steel straws, bamboo utensil sets, water bottles made from recycled content and jar openers made from tires. We also gave back to the campus community approximately 40 boxes of office supplies and 3-ring binders.  We hosted over 650 attendees at this event. Many thanks to those whom helped make the event a success!

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