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Sustainability

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.

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.

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?

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.

FINAL RecycleMania Results!

The 2012 RecycleMania competition is complete! This year, during the eight weeks of the event, our campus recycling rate was 31.33%, or 15.17 pounds/person. Our non-recycled trash going to the landfill weighed in at 48.41 pounds/person over the eight weeks.

The tables below show the final results  as well as where our efforts placed us among all the Wisconsin Colleges and Universities participating in the competitive category.

State of Wisconsin Results

 

News Bit: NIKE, NASA Just Do It, Partner on Waste

By Leon Kaye, TriplePundit.com, April 9, 2012

“Last week NASA and NIKE kicked off ‘LAUNCH: Beyond Waste Challenge’ to find 10 ‘game changing’ innovations that could revamp current waste management systems. The immediate steps are to find new methods to minimize waste or alter it into new products. In the long term, the goal is to have these new waste processing systems aid space travel in the future.

Those interested in participating in the program have until May 15 to submit ideas for the elimination, transformation and mitigation of waste. LAUNCH is also seeking proposals for waste reduction education and financial strategies. This initiative welcomes any innovations that can help with waste diversion or zero-waste strategies that can benefit in households, communities, businesses or industry.

The fundamentals behind LAUNCH are growing concerns over the effects that the world’s increasing population coupled with diminishing resources call for a complete redesign and rethink of how societies approach waste. Current practices from the obvious, incineration and landfill disposal, to even more sustainable processes like recycling and ‘upcycling,’ (which use energy and do not always address consumerism and the accumulation of ‘stuff’) are untenable in the long run.”

To read more about how shoes and rockets work together go HERE.

RecycleMania Results: Week 5

Here’s the latest results!

Friday Factoids: Food Waste

  • How much food we throw out:  Vegetables are the most commonly wasted food in the average American home. Each home throws out $92 of fruits and vegetables a year.
  • Why we buy too much: It’s counterintuitive – People tend to overestimate what they need at the store when they are well-stocked at home, research shows.
  • What an average U.S. family of four spends on food each year that ends up in the garbage:  $500 to $2,000.
  • Fruit and juices make up 16% of trash in a home. (trash = avoidable waste)
  • Milk and yogurt make up 13% of trash.
  • Vegetables make up 25% of trash.
  • Grains make up 14% of trash.

Source:  “Leftovers: Tasty or Trash? With Food Prices High, There’s Guilt About Waste But Dread of the Reheated Dinner” by Sarah Nassauer, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

RecycleMania Results: Week 4

Here are the results for Week 4 of RecycleMania – half way through the competition!