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Key Objective: 6.2 Reduce MSW landfill volume

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 6, objective 2, is "Reduce municipal solid waste (MSW) going to landfills. This involves reducing nondurable goods purchases, effectively reusing materials, and recycling. In the latter category, campus will increase the diversion rate of MSW to 45% by FY20, 60% by FY25, and 80% by FY35, while also increasing the total diversion rate to 90% by FY20 and 95% by FY25. MSW sent to landfills should decline to 2,000 tons annually by 2035." 

Associated Metric

Potential Strategies

Reducing the tonnage of MSW going to landfill will require a combination of reducing purchases, improving reuse of materials that have already been purchased, and increasing recycling rates. 

Reducing Non-Durable Goods Purchases

The campus could reduce purchases of office paper and computers, by encouraging need-based printing and extending the replacement cycles for computers.  An initial target could be a reduction of purchases in these categories relative to a FY15 baseline by 15% by FY20 and 30% by FY25.  Additional major product categories could be identified for significantly reduced purchases.  Purchases could be tracked by campus unit, with training and incentives for reductions; such incentives could potentially be implemented through the Certified Green Office program.

Reuse Materials

The campus could implement a program to extend the replacement cycles for computers and other electronic products.  This would involve educating the campus community about the benefits of postponing the purchase of new equipment, providing incentives for campus units, enhancing options for transferring the equipment to other users on campus, and investigating the potential for transferring equipment to non-campus users, in cooperation with Central Management Services.

The campus could also increase the reuse of materials on campus by expanding its durable-goods cataloguing system.  The Surplus department on campus already offers the reuse of various campus property, such as furniture, and campus could increase this program’s capacity as well as its visibility and utilization.  Campus could work with students to widen and encourage use of surplus goods by all departments.

Raise Recycling Rates across Campus

To increase awareness of waste management, campus could measure the performance by campus units (such as specific building, department and auxiliary) on purchasing, waste, landfill, recycling of specific commodities, and other product reuse. Campus units could be asked to participate in a waste stream characterization study that will help them develop plans to decrease wastes and increase recycling, and conduct training to increase engagement efforts. 

Campus could implement incentive programs for waste reduction by campus units and students and raise awareness of waste reduction goals through consistent communications and events, such as more zero-waste sports and cultural events.  Finally, campus could increase the sorting of recyclables from combined waste at the waste sorting station.

Increase Availability and Visibility of Recycling Bins

The campus could institute uniform signage for recycling and landfill bins across campus; bins could be strategically placed around campus buildings and grounds to increase visibility of current waste diversion efforts.  The number and locations of recycling bins could be increased by pairing them with trash bins, and reducing the total number of landfill bins.  In the ideal case, every landfill bin on campus would be paired with one or more recycling bins.

The campus could also undertake a campaign to increase awareness of special recycling categories, such as glass, food waste, electronics, batteries, and nitrile gloves. 

Increase Options for Recycling

The campus could also expand the categories of waste that are recycled on campus.  Some examples include expanding the glass recycling initiative, by consulting new vendors for competitive prices, developing new recycling options for plastics types 3-7, and developing expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) recycling.

Require Recycling of Construction and Demolition Material

Recycling of construction and demolition materials is a component of LEED certification, and is already required by campus for major projects.  By extending this requirement to all new construction and renovation projects, the campus could provide further support for LEED building commitments and at the same time make a significant reduction in our waste stream. 

Associated Project(s)