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Sustainability

Category Archive: Waste

CIT Goes Pro in Recycling

 

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It’s not the holiday season just yet, but the Computing & Information Technology (CIT) elves were busy over the summer replacing 567 (yes, really!) total pieces of computer hardware – desktops, laptops and monitors. When you have purchased a computer for yourself, you may remember the copious amounts of packing materials. Cardboard boxes, Styrofoam around everything, plastic bags around cords, connectors and installation DVDs – it adds up to a lot of materials. Now magnify your one purchase by 567 and you’ll get an idea of the volume of ‘stuff’ CIT was generating with their unpacking.

Although the cardboard has been recycled for many years, this is the first year that the plastic bags, plastic film and Styrofoam went to a recycler instead of the landfill. With the new plastic film recycling program started in Spring 2014, and with help from the Environmental Management and Business Institute’s John Arendt to find a home for the hallway of Styrofoam, this year the vast majority of the packaging was recycled! “I never realized how much waste we produced from computer packaging until we put it all in one place,” said Ryan Ledvina, computer inventory and allocations manager.

ACH Foam of Fond du Lac made the trip up to campus to collect the Styrofoam and helped us keep the material out of the landfill. The recycling process at ACH Foam either grinds the material to be reused in new expanded polystyrene (EPS) materials or it is processed into a resin for making products such as garden furniture, coat hangers and crown molding.

Just in case you wondered where the replaced computers and monitors end up, they are either used to upgrade existing public and student workstations or made available to purchase through our on-campus surplus program. You can get an HP desktop with Windows 7 for $100 (2010 models) or $150 (2011 models), as well as 2011 21.5” iMacs ($400) and Gateway 19” widescreen monitors ($15). Visit the Surplus website to learn more and keep the recycling and reuse going strong!

Big shout out to the CIT staff for taking the initiative to collect and manage the packaging waste for recycling!

 

RecycleMania 2014 Starts Today (Feb. 3!)

RM_logo_2014Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

For the fifth year, the UW-Green Bay community is taking part in ReycleMania (www.recyclemaniacs.org), a national friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Working with UWGB haulers – Waste Management (trash), Advanced Disposal (recycling), and SaniMax (pre-consumer organic waste) – data is collected on the volume of each be generated from our campus during each of the 8 weeks of the event (Feb. 2 – March 29). Using this data, our campus is ranked against others of the 500+ participants in various categories. We are participating in the Per Capita Classic, Waste Minimization and Grand Champion categories. During the week of March 3 – 7, look for special events to support our RecycleMania efforts! In the meantime, buy less, reuse more and recycle what you can! To learn our current status, check in here or at the UWGB Sustainability Facebook site for weekly updates starting the week of Feb. 17th.

Carbon footprint from food waste bigger than most countries’

By SustainableBusiness.com

Published on GreenBiz.com on 9-16-2013

Food waste isn’t just a devastating misuse of natural resources, it’s also a huge part of the world’s carbon footprint, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Every year, the world throws out about 1.3 billion tons of food – a startling one-third of the food produced. And that creates a greenhouse gas footprint bigger than all countries, except fo China and the U.S.

How? Because of the immense amounts of energy, water and chemicals used for agriculture and food production. The food supply chain produces about 3.3 billion tons of carbon a year.

That means 30 percent oft he world’s farmland – about 3.5 billion acres – is wasted.

And not counting seafood, wasting all that food costs about $750 billion a year, about the GDP of Switzerland, says FAO.

“All 0f us – farmers and fishers; food processors and supermarkets; local and national governments; individual consumers – must make changes at every link of the human food chain to prevent food wastage from happening in the first place, and re-use or recycle it when we can’t,” said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva. “We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste or be lost because of inappropriate practices, when 870 million go hungry every day.”

“Food wastage reduction would not only avoid pressure on scarce natural resources but also decrease the need to raise food production by 60 percent in order to meet the 2050 population demand,” writes FAO in its report ‘Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources.’

The UN study is the first to examine the impacts of global food waste from an environmental perspective, looking specifically at consequences for the climate, water and land use, and biodiversity.

Where Waste Occurs

The majority of food waste (54 percent) happens during and after food harvesting, particularly while it’s handled and stored. The rest occurs during the processing, distribution and consumption stages.

In developed economies, such as the U.S., where up to 40 percent of all food is wasted, the issue is one of consumers buying too much and throwing away what they don’t need. Elsewhere, in emerging and developing nations, the waste comes from framing inefficiences and a lack of proper storage, reports FAO.

Asia (China, Japan, Korea) is a regional hot spot for vegetable waste and rice, the cultivation of which is extremely carbon-intensive. Meat waste is a big issue in Latin America, which accounts for 80 percent of the world’s meat waste. Fruit and vegetable waste is problematic in Asia, Latin America and Europe.

How to Solve the Problem

The highest priority is to reduce crop losses through better farming practices, says FAO. Also important are re-use and recycling strategies that make it easier to donate surplus food to those that need it, and to divert foods no fit for human consumption to livestock.

Beyond these strategies, FAO recommends by-product recycling, anaerobic digestion and composting to recover energy and nutrients. These processes also minimize the amount of methane created by food rotting in landfills.

“UNEP and FAO have identified food waste and loss as a major opportunity for economies everywhere to assist in transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient and inclusive Green Economy,” say Achim Steiner, executive director for the UN Environment Program (UNEP). “Today’s excellent report by FAO underline the multiple benefits that can be realized – in many cases through simple and thoughtful measures by, for example, households, retailers, restaurants, schools and businesses – that can contribute to environmental sustainability, economic improvements, food security and the realization of the UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge.”

UNEP and FAO are founding partners of the Think Eat Save – Reduce Your Footprint campaign, launched this year to coordinate worldwide efforts to cut food waste.”

Source URL: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2013/09/16/carbon-footprint-food-waste-bigger-most-countries

 

 

 

Goodwill Donation Drive at ‘Move-Out’ Benefits People and the Environment

When student’s leave campus for the summer, typically not all of their belongings get packed into the car and often end up in a dumpster on the way to the landfill. This year, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, the Office of Residence Life and the Sustainability Office piloted a “Move-Out” donation drive. With student RAs helping distribute donation bags to each room/suite in all of the buildings in housing, students had the opportunity to fill up the bags with reusable items and drop them off at one of seven collection sites. Goodwill picked up several times during Finals week and will do one last pick-up early this week (May 20). Check back here to see the weight of items that will be sold through Goodwill to benefit people across North Central Wisconsin. Much better then ending up sitting in a landfill slowly decomposing over time!

Check out this video from CW14 on the donation drive!   http://www.cw14online.com/dpp/cw_14_star/my_video/Goodwill-and-UWGB-Move-Out-Donation-Drive-

Final Results for RecycleMania are in!

2013 RecycleMania Results

The final numbers are in! Congratulations to everyone for a solid showing in this year’s competition. The results are cumulative over the entire 8 weeks of the competition. Keep your waste minimization and recycling habits going for the rest of the year!  

Grand Champion Results – 274 participants
College/University Rank Recycling Rate for 8 weeks of competition – %
University of Missouri – Kansas City 1 86.016
UW- Platteville 63 40.004
UW- River Falls 65 39.511
UW – Milwaukee 71 38.588
UW – Whitewater 103 32.411
UW – Stout 115 30.600
UW – Green Bay 137 28.277
UW – Madison 167 25.060
UW – Eau Claire 203 20.964
Wisconsin Technical College 211 19.316
UW – Oshkosh 273 5.422

 

Per Capita Classic – 361 participants
College/University Rank Recycled Pounds per capita
California State University – San Marcos 1 53.105
UW- Eau Claire 11 38.841
Lawrence University 15 34.944
UW- Milwaukee 75 17.066
UW – Platteville 78 16.398
Carroll College 123 12.872
UW – Green Bay 124 12.808
UW – River Falls 126 12.708
UW – Madison 138 11.824
UW – Whitewater 175 10.007
UW – Oshkosh 218 7.941
College Menominee Nation 241 7.071
UW – Stout 260 6.112
Western Technical College 331 2.774

 

Waste Minimization – 167 participants
College/University Rank Pounds of Waste Generated per capita
Valencia Community College 1 3.197
Western Technical College 19 14.363
UW – Stout 37 19.972
UW – Whitewater 55 30.875
UW – Milwaukee 98 44.226
UW – Green Bay 100 45.294
UW – Madison 107 47.183
UW – Eau Claire 167 185.280

 

RecycleMania Week 6 Results

Welcome back from Spring Break!

We’re in our last week of RecycleMania – so let’s make it a good one! When you’re emptying out your car of any road-trip trash – remember to recycle what can be recycled! Results are in for the first six weeks and we’re hanging in there. Our paper/cardboard compactors will be emptied this week, so that tonnage will be added to our totals and will help our overall recycling numbers. Stay tuned!

 

Week (Cumulative totals)

  6 7 8 Standing
Grand Champion weekly recycling rate, %) 2013

20.43

 

 

 

2012

29.25

28.73

31.33

 

Per Capita Classic (lbs/per person) 2013

6.85

 

 

 

2012

10.52

11.62

15.17

 

Waste Minimization
(lbs/per person)
2013

33.52

 

 

 

2012

35.99

40.45

48.41

 

 

Category National Ranking: Week 6 Wisconsin Ranking (participating schools)
Grand Champion 203 out of 266 8 out of 10
Per Capita Classic 181 out of 403 9 out of 13
Waste Minimization 105 out of 180 4 out of 7
Pounds of trash generated  27,120  
Pounds of recycling collected  8,260   

RecycleMania Week 4 Results

Week 4 Results are in! We’re holding our own –  middle-of-the-pack for the most part. One thing that will boost up our overall recycling rate is when our two 42 cubic yard paper/cardboard compactors are emptied/weighed toward the end of RecycleMania. All the paper/cardboard you recycle go into these compactors (one is behind the Union and one is behind IS, in case you wondered), so those materials are not reflected in our current numbers.

Keep up your recycling and waste minimization efforts!

Category National Ranking: Week 4 Wisconsin Ranking (participating schools)
Grand Champion 195 out of 257 7 out of 10
Per Capita Classic 174 out of 335 9 out of 13
Waste Minimization 100 out of 159 4 out of 8
Pounds of trash generated 25,785  
Pounds of recycling collected 7,560  

 

 

Week (Cumulative totals)

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standing
Grand Champion weekly recycling rate, %) 2013

15.34

17.91

19.87

20.55

 

 

 

 

 

2012

20.94

20.26

20.29

20.34

29.48

29.25

28.73

31.33

 

Per Capita Classic (lbs/per person) 2013

0.87

2.04

3.389

4.62

 

 

 

 

 

2012

1.27

2.41

3.58

4.76

9.51

10.52

11.62

15.17

 

Waste Minimization
(lbs/per person)
2013

5.65

11.40

17.05

22.49

 

 

 

 

 

2012

6.06

11.90

17.67

23.41

32.26

35.99

40.45

48.41

 

RecycleMania Week 3 Results

Here’s the standings as of last Friday - Keep up those recycling and waste minimization efforts! And come by tonight’s “Go Green” women’s basketball game – booths with info and lots of recyclin’ will be going on!

 

Category National Ranking:

Week 3

Wisconsin Ranking (participating schools)
Grand Champion 193 out of 250 7 out of 8
Per Capita Classic 169 out of 402 8 out of 11
Waste Minimization 99 out of 178 5 out of 6
Pounds of trash going to the landfill   25,785
Pounds of recycling collected   7,560

 

 

Week (Cumulative totals)

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standing
Grand Champion weekly recycling rate, %) 2013

15.34

17.91

19.87

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

20.94

20.26

20.29

20.34

29.48

29.25

28.73

31.33

 

Per Capita Classic (lbs/per person) 2013

0.87

2.04

3.389

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

1.27

2.41

3.58

4.76

9.51

10.52

11.62

15.17

 

Waste Minimization
(lbs/per person)
2013

5.65

11.40

17.05

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

6.06

11.90

17.67

23.41

32.26

35.99

40.45

48.41

 

RecycleMania Week 2 Results

Week 2 is in the books (or recyling center and lanfill, in this situation). Our efforts are improving but we still have a lot of room to do better. Less is more if you’re talking about recycling – less in the landfill and more in the recycling bin, so make the effort to recycle what you can! Less is less if you think about what you need to buy in the first place – have a reusable water bottle and that’s one less plastic bottle to be recycled.  It’s all about the choices you make!

The results in the tables below are cumulative – every week counts.

 

Week (Cumulative totals)

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standing
Grand Champion weekly recycling rate, %) 2013

15.34

17.91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

20.94

20.26

20.29

20.34

29.48

29.25

28.73

31.33

 

Per Capita Classic (lbs/per person) 2013

0.87

2.04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

1.27

2.41

3.58

4.76

9.51

10.52

11.62

15.17

 

Waste Minimization
(lbs/per person)
2013

5.65

11.40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

6.06

11.90

17.67

23.41

32.26

35.99

40.45

48.41

 

 

Category Overall Ranking: Week 1 Wisconsin Ranking (participating schools) Overall Ranking: Week 2 Wisconsin Ranking (participating schools)
Grand Champion 179 out of 208 6 out of 6 185 out of 228 6 out of 7
Per Capita Classic 179 out of 208 8 out of 9 179 out of 400 8 out of 10
Waste Minimization 86 out of 136 3 out 4 97 out of 181 5 out of 5
Pounds of trash generated 29,355   28,020  
Pounds of recycling collected 5,320   7,840  

Recyclemania Week 1 Results

 

Week 1 Results are posted!

UWGB is participating in three different types of categories in this year’s Recyclemania program.  The Grand Champion category is based on the overall percentage of materials recycled on campus. The Per Capita Classic category looks at the materials recycled on campus based on our headcount to determine a pounds/person recycled. The last category we participate in is Waste Minimization, which looks at the total waste (both trash going to the landfill and materials collected for recycling) on a pounds/person basis.

The rankings in the table below show where, after Week 1, UWGB stands. The overall ranking shows our status among all the schools nationwide participating in that given category. The Wisconsin ranking shows our status among all the schools in Wisconsin that are participating in that given category.

Looks like we have room to improve in all categories! The best strategy is to consider what’s waste, what’s reusable in some manner, what’s not reusable but is recyclable (and recycle it appropriately!), and of course the ultimate, consider the purchase in the first place (no waste and no recycling to even think about!). And remember, with all the new hydration stations on campus, it’s easier than ever to eliminate the expense and waste of bottled water – just fill up your reusable water bottle – easy!

Week 2 results will be posted next Monday. Stay tuned for events happening the week of March 3rd, including an upcycling contest for textiles… 

Week 1 Results (Feb. 3 – Feb. 9)

Category Grand Champion Overall Rank Wisc. Rank
Week 1 15.342% recycled 179/208 6/6
Category Waste Min. Overall Rank Wisc. Rank
Week 1 5.655 lbs/person 86/136 3/4
Category Per Capita Classic Overall Rank Wisc. Rank
Week 1 .868 lbs/person 179/208 8/9