Recycling continues to be one of the greatest success stories at the University of Maryland. The campus recycling rate increased from 17 percent in 2003 to an impressive 68 percent in 2011. In 2008, an innovative recycling and composting program was piloted to reduce waste at home football games and at dining halls. Since then, several on-campus administrative and residential buildings, the Stamp Student Union and some Greek houses have expanded their recycling to include compost collection.
"Our goal of achieving a 75% recycling rate depends on each and every person on campus. This starts with reducing and reusing, then separating waste between compost, recycle and trash," said UMD Recycling Coordinator Bill Guididas.
Facilities Management’s Recycling and Solid Waste unit is hoping that the University will regain its 2011 ACC Grand Champion title in the national RecycleMania competition, which runs from February 3 until March 30. The annual 8-week competition challenges colleges across the United States and Canada to collect the most recycled and trash materials. Materials that will be accepted include all paper products (including cardboard, books, mail, magazines, newspapers), bottles, cans, and all items that would go into the single-stream recycling bins. The University will also compete in two additional categories this year: food service organics (which includes pre- and post-consumer food waste such as compostable dinnerware and napkins) and electronics.
To facilitate collection, the Recycling and Solid Waste unit hosted weekly shredding events every Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event offered free shredding of sensitive documents to all departments on campus. For future shredding events, offices should refer to the University’s Records Retention and Disposal Schedule to determine which records may be discarded.
For more information about RecycleMania, please visit www.recyclemaniacs.org.
Learn how Greek houses have contributed to the composting efforts on-campus.
"It is our responsibility to eliminate waste in a proper way," said Mark Gyorfy, president of Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity that collects compost in its house.
As a collaborative effort between FM’s Campus Projects, FM’s Solid Waste and Recycling Unit and the Office of Sustainability, this recycling effort generates about 300 to 800 tons of recyclable waste per year. The newly implemented program shifts waste produced by campus renovation projects from local landfills to recycling facilities. Having contractors dispose of the waste was a pass-through cost, and the new program allows the university to ensure it is properly recycled at no additional cost to the projects. This project is a win-win effort because it benefits the individual projects while advancing campus sustainability goals. Click here to read the full story. Click here to read the Diamondback article.
Students and faculty at the University of Maryland recycle and compost for a better future. Click here to learn about what motivates Sam Allen, a UMD student, to reduce waste materials. Click here to learn how College Park Scholars' Environment, Technology, and the Economy Program Director Becky Archer leaves small footprints inside and outside the office.