Waste prevention through product reuse and reduced consumption can help prevent emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce pollutants, save energy, conserve resources, create jobs, and stimulate the development of green technologies. By considering the life-cycle of products and materials and applying this consciousness to daily decision making, the UNC Asheville community can maximize practical benefits from products and generate the minimum amount of waste.
All in the Hall Program
Historically, most classrooms at UNC Asheville have been equipped with a single trash can without an accompanying recycling or composting bins. Since about 80% of classroom waste (by weight) is divertable through recycling or composting, classroom waste streams presented an opportunity for waste reduction. One option to address this issue would be to add recycling receptacles into the classrooms. This would increase housekeeping responsibilities and necessitate the purchase of additional equipment. Alternatively, many colleges and Universities have been removing trash cans from individual classrooms as a means of waste reduction with success. Through the “All in the Hall” program, UNC Asheville classroom-users will carry disposables to centralized waste sorting stations. Compost bins would be added to central areas as trash cans are removed.
In addition to diverting waste from the landfill, this initiative aims to minimize use of petroleum-based trash can liners, reduce trash dumpster service fees, provide time-saving opportunity for housekeeping staff, and initiate a behaviour change that encourages the campus community to rethink our waste habits.
As each trash can is removed from a classroom, it will be replaced with a sign directing classroom users to a central sorting station. Prior to trash can removal, faculty and staff will be notified via a building wide email.
Program success will be measured on feedback from campus users and housekeeping staff in addition to waste stream diversion. A waste stream analysis will be conducted before and after program implementation to determine if less waste is being landfilled.
Tiny Trash Can Program
Starting in 2014, UNC Asheville faculty and staff have the option to participate in the Tiny Trash Can program. Participants agree to replace their existing desk-side trashcan with a 6" tall desk-top receptacle and are responsible for emptying their Tiny Trash Cans into larger, centrally-located receptacles. The receptacles have educational labels reminding users how to properly sort their waste. In addition to raising awareness about minimizing waste and developing greener habits, the Tiny Trash Can Program addresses the issue of plastic bags used to line conventional trash cans. Plastic trash liners are expensive, wasteful, and time-consuming for housekeeping staff. Eliminating the need for housekeeping staff to service desk-side trash containers will offset the increasing responsibilities associated with growing recycling and composting programs across campus. Once the Tiny Trash Can Program has been introduced to a building, individuals become responsibile for transporting personal trash to a central trash bin. This also applies to individuals who have opted to keep their standard-size trash cans. Deskside recycling containers will continue to be serviced by housekeeping staff. Check out this report from Keep America Beautiful for more information on the benefits of Tiny Trash Can Programs.
During the fiscal year 2013-2014 UNC Asheville used over 55,000,000 sheets of paper, the production of which used about 660 trees and 515,700 gallons of water. Programs around campus are working towards reducing paper usage and waste. For example, campus printers are defaulted for double-sided printing. Here are some ways you can also help:
- Don’t print unless absolutely necessary - Think before you print!!
- Always use print preview to avoid unnecessary use of paper.
- Always copy on both sides of the paper.
- Minimize misprints by posting diagrams on how to load special paper such as letterhead.
- Use email, Moodle or Google docs for information sharing.
Practice efficient use of paper:
- Use smaller font size
- Use size reduction feature: shrink documents to ½ size
- Reduce margin widths
- Set departmental goals of using less paper to make everyone aware of how much paper is used and the costs.
Glass, Plastic, and Metal Containers
- Use refillable mugs and beverage containers
- Purchase food and beverages in the largest container possible.
- Use a water filter rather than drinking bottled water.
- Avoid purchasing products in non-recyclable containers
UNC Asheville Free Store
Donate to and shop the UNC Asheville Free Store operated by the Student Environmental Center. Gently used clothes, school supplies, electronics and much more can avoid the trip to the landfill. Shopping the Free Store prevents the manufacturing of new products and enhances the UNC Asheville community.
Move Out Programs
According to a recent Tufts University study, there is a 30% spike in the solid waste stream at most universities every April and May, when students are preparing to leave campus. To address this wasteful (and costly) issue, Housing and Residence Life at UNC Asheville has partnered with several non-profit and local organizations to collect furniture, clothes, shoes, bedding, backpacks, non-perishable food and other reusable items. During the 2015 move-out, Goodwill received over 7,000 lbs of reusable items from UNC Asheville.