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In Progress

Track Waste from Frontload Trucks

In 2018, PRI Sustainability Researcher/F&S Zero Waste Coordinator Shantanu Pai began to investigate services which could accurately weigh frontload pans when they were dumped into frontload trucks. Unlike swingpan and rolloff pans, which are individually taken to the Waste Transfer Station for weighing and dumping, many individual frontload containers are dumped into a single truck, and the lump sum is weighed at the Waste Transfer Station.

Towards Zero Waste: Automated Waste Classification via Computer Vision

Funded in early 2023, this project aims to develop an automated waste characterization system that uses recent advances in computer vision to detect and classify waste more efficiently for recycling. It will also create a dashboard with live data on the nature and extent of waste generated at the U of I to motivate the campus community to follow best practices for waste disposal and recycling and to help meet zero-waste goals in the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).

Geothermal Battery at Energy Farm

The Prairie Research (PRI), Student Sustainability Committee (SSC), Facilities & Services (F&S), Illinois Water Resources Center (IWRC), Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), and the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) gathered on Feb. 27, 2023, to break ground on installing an underground thermal battery (UTB) at the  Energy Farm in Urbana, IL.

2024 Campus Bike Plan

The iCAP 2020 objective 3.4.2 is to "Continue to implement the 2014 Campus Bike Plan." The responsible campus unit for championing this objective is F&S.

2014 Campus Bike Plan needs to be updated every ten years. The 2024 Campus Bike Plan is expected to be finalized by the end of FY24 and approved by November 2024 by the Sustainability Council.

Tailgate Recycling

During the spring 2023 semester, the iCAP Zero Waste Team submitted a recommendation for Facilities & Services and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics to jointly launch a pilot tailgate recycling program, beginning during the fall 2023 football season. On May 2, 2023, Director of Athletics Josh Whitman approved the recommendation, and on May 21, 2023, Facilities & Services Executive Director Ehab Kamarah also approved the recommendation.

Green Food Truck Certification

In Champaign-Urbana, more than 20 different food truck vendors can be found regularly circulating through the cities. Many of these food trucks can be found around the University of Illinois streets, students being a primary consumer of their offerings. Businesses, especially those which serve food and drink, have a unique opportunity to address sustainability within their operations. To-go, delivery, and food trucks have the unique addition of disposable products as part of their service to customers.

Fighting Illini, Fighting Waste

In coordination with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics; the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment; Facilities & Services; and Coca-Cola, the university is pursuing a concerted effort to increase recycling and reduce waste at athletic events. Fighting Illini, Fighting Waste is a high-visibility, evergreen campaign concept formed at the university's weekly sustainability calls with Coca-Cola.


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