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Sustainability

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  

It’s Recyclemania Time!

Recyclemania is Back!! The goal, of course, is to both reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ we throw out in the trash by thinking before we buy AND if we do need to discard something AND it is recyclable, to put it in the appropriate recycling bin.

Recyclemania is a friendly yearly competition with other colleges and universities in North America and Canada to see who can do the best job of reducing, reusing and recycling. During the eight weeks of February 3 – March 30, we’ll be having our waste hauler record the amount of waste and recycling removed from ALL our campus dumpsters. That volume is converted to weights and entered in the RecycleMania database for all to see … and compare our progress against other schools!

In Wisconsin, the following schools are competing in RecycleMania: Carroll University, College of the Menominee Nation, Lawrence University, Saint Norbert College, UW – Madison, UW – Milwaukee, UW – Oshkosh, UW – Plattville, UW – River Falls, UW – Stout, UW – Whitewater, and Western Technical College. How will we fare against this competition?? That depends on you and your buying/recycling habits!

Stay tuned for events happening the week of March 3rd and check back here for updates on our progress and status.

Recycle Your RECHARGABLE Batteries and Old Cell Phones

Do you have some no longer recharging rechargable batteries or did you replace a cell phone over the holiday break? If so, you have a simple on-campus option to recycle both of these. Our Environmental Health office has set up a number of recycling stations around campus to drop off these items for proper recycling. Just bring in your items, place them in the provided plastic bag, and deposit in the box. Simple!

Locations to find these specialized recycling boxes are:

  • Cofrin Library, 3rd floor
  • Operations Office (IS 1204)
  • HVAC Shop (IS 1067)
  • Grounds (PP 102)
  • Environmental Health office, CL 823

Olympic Park Sets Gold Standard for Sustainability

  from CNN.com, by Erin McLaughlin and Matthew Knight

“It’s hard to believe that this area of east London was once a dilapidated and neglected quarter of the UK capital.

With shiny new stadiums and visitor facilities nestling among the lush landscaped grounds, every detail of the 500-acre Olympic Park has taken into account environmental concerns, prompting 2012 organizers to bill it as the first sustainable Olympics.

David Stubbs, head of sustainability for the London 2012 Games, was part of the original team that drafted London’s successful bid.

Sustainability was a key reason why London was chosen, he says, and provides a golden opportunity to show what can be achieved.

‘If you can put sustainability at the heart of a project which is the largest logistical exercise in peace time — across 26 different sports, with thousands of people attending and millions watching — then you can do it anywhere,’ Stubbs said.

Many of the park’s bridges have been constructed using gabion walls (steel mesh filled with stones and rubble) providing a visual reminder of the Games’ green goals.

‘There’s a huge emphasis on reuse and recycling,’ says Stubbs.

‘All the buildings that were knocked downs, all that rubble was sort of crushed up and used as the fillings for these gabions for the new bridges.’”

For the rest of the article on the arenas and landscape of the 2012 Olympic Games, read HERE.

 

News Bit: Fryer Grease Hits the Black Market

Story by Samantha Neary, posted in TriplePundit.com on June 13, 2012.

“We know that oil consumption is a hot topic today, especially in this volatile economic climate. For example, biodiesel has taken center stage this week with reports of increased grease theft from restaurant kitchens nationwide, subsequently creating an underground frying oil market.

With green energy becoming evermore prevalent and effective, the demand for biodiesel has inspired many to cash in. Here is how it happens: restaurants store used cooking grease in barrels to be picked up by a collection company, “green” thieves steal the grease and resell it to recyclers who then process it and sell the processed biodiesel to someone in the transportation industry. Yes, all this effort is over lard.

For years, restaurants had to pay companies to haul away old grease, which was used mostly in animal feed. Some gave it away to locals who used it make biodiesel for their converted car engines. But with a demand for biofuel rising, fryer oil now trades on a booming commodities market, commanding around 40 cents per pound, about four times what it sold for 10 years ago. Many restaurants now have contracts with collection companies to sell their grease for about $300 per container. This boost in value is tempting for thieves, especially in hard times like we face today, so the renering industry has been trying to lock down the growing market from freeloaders. But barrels of grease are still slipping through the cracks. So instead of restaurants paying collection companies, they are not paying lawyers to persecute grease thieves.

It did take some time, however, for this type of larceny to be taken seriously in court. ‘The reception in municipal court is very uneven,’ said Steven T. Singer, a lawyer in New Jersey. ‘You’re reliant upon the prosecutors, so you got to get them to understand the seriousness of this, as well as the judge.’”

Go to the rest of the story and watch the video from a security cam of a grease thief slipping away with the goods HERE.

An Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time

Interesting idea from Amsterdam, appearing in the New York Times, May 8, 2012.

By Sally McGrane

“AMSTERDAM – An unemployed man, a retired pharmacist and an upholsterer took their stations, behind tables covered in red gingham. Screwdrivers and sewing machines stood at the ready. Coffee, tea and cookies circulated. Hilij Held, a neighbor, wheeled in a zebra-striped suitcase and extracted a well-used iron. ‘It doesn’t work anymore,’ she said. ‘No steam.’

Ms. Held had come to the right place. At Amsterdam’s first Repair Cafe, an event originally held in a theater’s foyer, then in a rented room in a former hotel and now in a community center a couple times a month, people can bring in whatever they want to have repaired, at no cost, by volunteers who just like to fix things.

Conceived as a way to help people reduce waste, the Repair Cafe concept has taken off since its debut two and a half years ago. The Repair Cafe Foundation has raised about $525,000 through a grant from the Dutch government, support from foundations and small donations, all of which pay for staffing, marketing and even a Repair Cafe bus.

Thirty groups have started Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, where neighbors pool their skills and labor for a few hours a month to mend holey clothing and revivify old coffee makers, broken lamps, vacuum cleaners and toasters, as well as at least one electric organ, a washing machine and an orange juice press.

‘In Europe, we thow out so many things,’ said Martine Postma, a former journalist who came up with the concept after the birth of her second child led her to think more about the environment. ‘It’s a shame, because the things we throw away are usually not that broken. There are more and more people in the world, and we can’t keep handling things the way we do.

‘I had the feeling I wanted to do something, not just write about it,’ she said. But she was troubled by the question: ‘How do you try to do this as a normal person in your daily life?’ Inspired by a design exhibit about the creative, cultural and economic benefits of repairing and recycling, she decided that helping people fix things was a practical way to prevent unnecessary waste.

‘Sustainability discussions are often about ideals, about what could be,’ Ms. Postma said. ‘After a certain number of workshops on how to grow your own mushrooms, people get tired. This is very hands on, very concrete. It’s about doing something together, in the here and now.’

While the Netherlands puts less than 3 percent of its municipal waste into landfills, there is still room for improvement, according to Joop Atsma, the state secretary for infrastructure and the environment.” ….

Read more about this innovative concept of Repair Cafes here.

Do you think a similar concept would work in the U.S., or are we too deeply enmeshed in the ‘Take-Make-Waste’ economy?

Graduation Gowns Go Green

For the first time this year, the 900 graduates at UWGB will be marching across the stage to accept their diplomas in gowns that exemplify the environmental tradition of the university. The GreenWeaver fabric used to make the gowns comes from 100% post-consumer plastic. It takes an average of 23 bottles to make one gown.

Other environmental tidbits about the gowns:

Reduce – CO2 gas emissions are reduced by over 54% in the process of manufacturing fabric from recycled plastic versus virgin polyester.

Reuse – In addition to reclaiming and reusing the plastic bottles, thermal recycled energy is used instead of petroleum to produce the fabric, which saves energy use by over 52%.

Recycle- any student not wanting to hold on to their gown as a keepsake will have the ability to place them in collection boxes after commencement and those gowns will be recycled into new product.

Also, look for green ribbons on graduates’ gowns. If you see one, you know that these students have taken part in the “Green Pledge” national movement. The pledge states that the graduates will consider environmental and social justice aspects in their lives and future jobs. This is the fourth year that the UWGB campus has participated in the Green Pledge.

Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

Garbage Glut: Each of Us Toss Out 7 Pounds of Trash a Day, Spending Billions to Manage It

Read the following excerpt published in The Wall Street Journal by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Edward Humes. Click HERE to read the entire article. Humes’ book, “Garbology” was recently published.

“Each week, we push our trash to the curb, and it seemingly disappears. But where does it all go: the spent cartons of milk, the computer keyboard fried by spilled coffee, those empty dog food cans?

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to find out. In 2009, they began attaching transmitter chips to thousands of pieces of ordinary garbage. They tossed this “smart trash” into the bin, sat back and watched the tortuous, disturbing path that our garbage often takes: the meanderings of electronic waste as it headed for distant shores, of ratty old sneakers that ran the equivalent of a dozen marathons, of printer cartridges that transversed the continent not once but twice on the road to recycling.

This clever experiment threw a spotlight on the biggest, costliest, dirtiest secret about our garbage: our ignorance of how much we produce, what it contains and what happens to it once it leaves our hands.

Take the nation’s official trash tally – used alike by environmentalists, buisnesses and policy makers – which maintains that the average American tosses out 4.4 pounds of trash a day, with about a third getting recycled and the rest going to landfills. These numbers are found in the Environmental Protection Agency’s exhaustive annual compendium “Municipal Solid Waste in the United States” – America’s trash Bible – and are determined by an array of byzantine estimates and simulations, based on manufacturing data and the life expectancy of products.

But the EPA’s “materials flow analysis” dates back to the bad old days when there were 10 times the number of town dumps and many more illegal ones, with little actual weighing and regulation. Today the business model of the landfill and recycling business depends on precise measurement (and billing per ton), so we have much  more real-world data. Using these sources, the most recent survey conducted by Columbia University and the trade journal BioCycle found that Americans actually throw out much more than the EPA estimates, a whopping 7.1 pounds a day, and that less than a quarter of it gets recycled.

So how does America’s trash weigh in? Here are some key numbers from the emerging science of garbology: 

  • At 7.1 pounds of trash a day, each of us is on track to produce a staggering 102 tons of waste in an average lifetime.
  • Trash has become America’s leading export: mountains of waste paper, soiled cardboard, crushed beer cans and junked electronics. China’s No. 1 export to the U.S. is computers, according to the Journal of Commerce. The United States’ No. 1 export to China, by number of cargo containers, is scrap.
  • American communities on average spend more money on waste management than on fire protection, parks and recreation, libraries or schoolbooks, according to U.S. Census data on municipal budgets.

As these snapshots suggest, garbage costs are staggering. New York City alone spent $2.2 billion on sanitation in 2011. According to the city’s department of sanitation, more than $300 million of that was just for transporting its citizens’ trash by train and truck – 12,000 tons a day – to out-of-state landfills, some as far as 300 miles away. How much is 12,000 tons a day? That’s like throwing away 62 Boeing 747 jumbo jets daily, or driving 8,730 new Honda Civics into a landfill each morning.”

Read the rest of this WSJ article HERE.

 Some final facts on Our Annual Waste (from Garbology)

  • 19 billion pounds of polystyrene peanuts
  • 40 billion plastic knives, forks and spoons
  • 28 billion pounds of food
  • Enough steel to level and restore Manhattan
  • Enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas

E-Waste Recycling – April 23rd, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Have an old CPU, dead laptop, antique scanner or anything with a plug gathering dust in your dorm room or at home? Faculty, staff and students have an opportunity on April 23, 10:30 – 2:30 p.m., to bring those old electronics in for recycling by local company Cyber Green (http://www.cybergreenllc.com/). The event will be held in the MAC Circle, off of Campus Ct., with students available to help you haul things, if needed. Only four items have fees for disposal and they are:  CRT/Monitors, $10; TVs, $10; TVs over 30”, $20; Console TVs, $20. Anything else with a plug can be recycled at no cost.  

Note: this is NOT for University-owned or purchased electronic items. An e-waste recycling opportunity will be held in the future to collect those items.