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Success Stories - College/University


The success stories provided on this website are for information purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by EPA or the United States Government of any specific commercial products, processes, or services mentioned therein.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – NJ

In 2008, Rutgers University recycled or reused 15,600 tons of material. Some unique approaches included pulverizing and donating 3,700 tons of food waste to a local pig farm, using 23 tons of used grease and oil for biofuels, and reselling 33 tons of unwanted furniture. In addition to being a leader in waste reduction, Rutgers is also reaching out to the university community. To help others create meaningful recycling programs, Rutgers presented the results of its work to other New Jersey colleges and universities in October 2008 at a regional conference.

Suffolk University – Boston, MA

In 2008, Suffolk University launched a multi-pronged approach to inform employees about campus environmental initiatives. Through an expanded Web site, bimonthly e-mails, coupons to encourage positive behavior, and opportunities to contribute to Green Teams, employees have a variety of ways to participate in the university’s waste reduction efforts. Suffolk University ranked in the top 20 percent for waste reduction and recycling in the 2008 RecycleMania competition.

Eastern Illinois University (EIU) – Charleston, Ill

Eastern Illinois University is an academic institution with a strong dedication to reducing its environmental footprint. In 2007, the university, as part of its waste prevention and recycling program, reused twelve and a half tons of yard waste made into mulch or compost for campus beautification. The university also sponsors a program to collect unwanted furniture when students move out in the spring and then makes these items available for purchase by students in the fall. All proceeds from the furniture resale are donated to charity. Other efforts include collecting Freon, automobile and other batteries, and refurbishing and reusing pallets. Eastern Illinois University increased its recycling rates for mixed metals and plastics by 115 percent over the previous year’s collection rates.

Medical University of South Carolina – Charleston, SC

The Medical University of South Carolina conserves natural resources with a cost-effective recycling and donation program, an impressive vermicomposting program, and extensive C&D recycling projects. The hospital donates unused items to local schools and charities, reducing disposal costs and helping the community. Internally, its four-year-old worm farm, “fed” by the university’s cafeteria, transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer. To top off its first year activities, the university conscientiously deconstructed two quadrangle buildings, sending the concrete, steel, and bricks to local vendors for recycling and saving approximately 8,529 BTUs of energy—enough energy to power more than 80 homes for an entire year!

Miami University – OH

With a student body of more than 16,000, Miami University integrates fun into waste reduction, getting students involved through competition. In one initiative, “Waging War on Waste,” Miami University pitted its students against food waste and trash in the hope that waste would be the ultimate loser. The program started with food waste, but expanded to “to go” waste in 2003 after an informal waste audit identified a need for reusable trays instead of nonrecyclable “to go” packaging. Miami University is also a founding member of Recycle Mania—a highly lauded intercollegiate recycling competition that now includes 17 schools—and has been a formidable challenger since 2001. For ten weeks every year, the university competes against other colleges to see which school can collect the most recyclables. In addition to traditional materials, Miami students recycled more than 14,800 pounds of hardcover books and 31,600 pounds of computer equipment in 2003. By significantly reducing the total quantity of materials landfilled in 2003, the university saved an impressive $66,500 in avoided disposal fees.



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