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Waste Reduction - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Archive for the ‘Waste Reduction’ Category

We’ll Do the Dirty Work

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Not all heroes wear capes. In fact, some don tan shirts and rubber gloves and call themselves the Compost Crew.

The Compost Crew is a student-initiated group committed to diverting waste on campus. As their name indicates, the group’s primary focus is collecting food waste for composting. Their work is part of a broader commitment at the university to create zero-landfill initiatives across campus including event planning consultation, awareness campaigns, and recycling/repurposing efforts.

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Move Out, Don’t Throw Out

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Move-Out is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start planning. Students are encouraged to donate unwanted books, furniture, clothing, and other materials when they move out this spring. Doing so will benefit the local community and allow them to serve as stewards of our environment by reducing waste.

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Leading the Way Toward Carbon Reduction through Campus-Wide Initiatives

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

by Office of Sustainability Staff Writer Suzy Mullins (’18)

Over the past few weeks, we have examined how Wake Forest is working to adopt, demonstrate, or research 25 of the 80 solutions from Drawdown, “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reduce global warming.” If you missed our introduction piece or our look into the Drawdown solutions that are being researched at Wake Forest, be sure to give them a read.

In this third piece, we examine nine Drawdown solutions that students, faculty, and staff engage in at Wake Forest. These solutions, and their corresponding ranks, include:

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Hacks for an Eco-Friendly Move

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Students today are more concerned than ever about the environment, but college move-in days typically produce huge piles of trash outside residence halls.  To combat this, the Office of Sustainability offers these simple moving hacks to achieve an eco-friendly Move-In Day:

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Move Out, Don’t Throw Out

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Move out is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start planning. Students are encouraged to donate or recycle unwanted books, furniture, clothing, and other materials when they move out this spring. Doing so will benefit the local community and allow them to serve as stewards of our environment  by reducing waste.

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Reduce Waste at Move-Out

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

20100614donate4472Did you know… that the big green dumpsters in front of residence halls are headed to the landfill? Help us keep all reusable or recyclable items out of the dumpsters and in the hands of those who can use them.

Spread the word about these opportunities:

 

Deacs Donate

What? Reusable housewares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, canned/dried food and furniture

When? April 29 – May 8

How? Smaller items can be placed in blue Goodwill donation boxes in the lobby of every residence hall. Bulky items (futons, shelving units, bookshelves, rugs, etc.) can be taken out in front of each residence hall and placed next to the Deacs Donate sign. Residents of theme houses should contact their resident advisers for information about the location of the donation bins in their areas.

Why? In 2015, the program helped students put approximately 20,000 pounds of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.

FAQ: Recycle Bins and Totes

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Q: How do I get a desk-side recycling bin for my office?

A: The Reynolda campus transitioned to desk-side recycling collection for faculty and staff in the spring of 2015. Small blue bins labeled with “Paper, Cans, Bottles” stickers are available for pick-up in the Office of Sustainability. Any desk-side bin with a “Paper, Cans, Bottles” sticker will be regularly emptied by Reynolda campus custodial staff. Larger bins for copy rooms, conference areas, or hallways can be ordered through the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling.

QHow do I get a green recycling tote for my Residence Hall room?

A: Green recycling totes are distributed during move-in to all first-year students. Students are encouraged to keep their recycling totes for the duration of their time at WFU. The Office of Sustainability keeps a few totes in Reynolda Hall – Room 101 for students who need replacements. Students who return totes during move-out are not guaranteed replacements in the following year. Totes that are returned during move-out are cleaned and redistributed to new students during move-in.

North Dining Hall Compost Campaign

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

“Did you know, only food and paper go in the North Dining Hall dish return? All wrappers, lids, and caps must be thrown away.” Thanks to a robust outreach campaign and a great story in the Old Gold & Black, Deacons are making history with the first post-consumer composting program on campus. During the span of the nine-day campaign, 3,600 pounds of food and paper waste was collected by Gallins Family Farm and transported to their offsite facility for composting.

Macaela_Compost_Outreach

Although this diversion is something to celebrate, we can never take our eye off the ball. Turning the same 9-day campaign, 900 pounds of food waste was turned away and sent to the landfill due to contamination. One milk carton, or a couple of plastic wrappers, can render a whole container of food waste unusable.

As a campus community, we have the opportunity to turn North Dining Hall (NDH) into a near zero-waste facility. Aside from making sure you follow the collection rules, tell a friend about composting at NDH and remind them, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Also check out this compost bulletin board kit and post it around your residence hall or in your departmental lounge.

Still confused about what to compost or why it matters? Reference the compost FAQs below and email sustainability@wfu.edu with any further questions.

North Dining Hall Compost FAQs

What happens if something other than food and paper go in the dish return?

All of the food and paper must be thrown away. If anything that can’t break down naturally in a three month time period enters the dish return, all of the waste in that batch is landfilled.

What should I do if I’m not sure whether something can be composted?

When in doubt, throw it out. It’s better to throw something small away than to ruin a whole batch of compostable waste.

What is compost?

Compost is organic waste which, over time, breaks down to become nutrient-rich soil.

Where do the food scraps and paper go?

Gallins Family Farm picks up food and paper waste collection bins from campus. They turn the organic waste into rich compost called Carolina Dynamite that nearby farms, gardeners, and landscapers purchase. Some of it comes back to our own campus garden on Polo Road.

Why does Wake Forest compost?

Composting helps reduce the amount of waste Wake Forest sends to the landfill. Not only does aerobic composting reduce the amount of methane that enters the atmosphere; it also reduces the cost of the waste we pay to be landfilled.

 

Wake Forest University Partners with UpcycleLife

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
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UpcycleLife at the WFU Earth Day Fair

“Pro Humanitiate” is in action on the sustainability front at Wake Forest through a partnership with UpcycleLife. The Charlotte-based, not-for-profit produces one-of-a-kind bags and accessories by upcycling things like billboards or banners. It isn’t just that UpcycleLife is keeping vinyl out of our landfills, it’s the way they do it. The mission is to help protect the environment, and at the same time transform lives by creating jobs for individuals in under-served communities.

The environmental problem is that vinyl billboard and banner material takes hundreds of years to break down in landfills. UpcycleLife diverts this material from the landfill by giving it a new use, and at the same time teaching folks in impoverished communities valuable job skills such as sewing, shipping, and receiving. UpcycleLife feels they have developed a method to impact a waste stream and create a steady employment model. Ideally, the model could be scaled in such a way that UpcycleLife could make a huge impact on the waste stream in the broader US.

The results of the partnership with Wake Forest so far are 3 banners from the university being upcycled for the cause.  By recycling these 3 banners UpcycleLife was able to employ 4 individuals from the local community for a total of 32 hours of paid work. On the flip-side, the upcycled products tell a unique story and provide users with a little piece of Wake Forest history.

According to Emma Kate Hosey, with the Charlotte-based organization: “UpcycleLife creates jobs for disadvantaged citizens by creating a product that reduces our impact on the environment. Our products are one-of-a-kind, hand-made, and made of reclaimed vinyl. We love taking a dirty banner and making it into a piece of art.”

Key Statistics about UpcycleLife:

  • Employed, trained and graduated over 12 refugee men and women in the Charlotte NC area in 3 years
  • Upcycled over 40,000 different products
  • Rescued over 10,000 lbs of vinyl from entering landfills
  • Provided free weekly English training and financial advising

Deacons Divert 11 Tons of Waste

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Demon Deacons rallied together this May to divert over 22,500 pounds — over 11 tons — of discarded goods from the landfill as part of Deacs Donate, an end-of-year move-out waste reduction campaign. Residence Life and Housing, Facilities and Campus Services, and the Office of Sustainability each played an important role in educating residents about the annual program.

The program, originally designed by the Resident Student Association and Residence Life and Housing, encourages students to deposit housewares, furniture, clothing and canned goods at designated locations during move-out. This year, Wake Forest collected over 17,000 pounds for donation to Goodwill. The non-profit provides actual weights of donations collected, rather than estimates. These more accurate metrics allow staff members to compare collections to the amount of waste landfilled and calculate a diversion rate for the end-of-year move-out period.

Thanks to the Better World Books program, students once again kept this semester’s used textbooks out of the dumpsters. Large cardboard collection boxes were placed near check-out lines in the campus Bookstore so students could donate books that the bookstore was unable to buy back. More than 2000 pounds of books collected at Wake Forest will be sold online, with a portion of the sales donated to our local literacy partner, the Augustine Project. Their Literate Girls program is a unique tutoring program that supports low-income girls with learning differences in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.

Nearly 1600 pounds of paper was collected for recycling between May 2, when the first students moved out of residence halls, and May 9. This is an increase from 1100 during last year’s move-out recycling. Residents are provided individual paper recycling bags, designed and distributed by Residence Life and Housing, to easily separate the paper recyclables and keep the waste stream cleaner.

Also at move-out, first-year students were given the option of returning the green personal recycling totes that they received on move-in day. Nearly 800 bins were collected for cleaning and will be redistributed to returning students next year. This effort alone kept 1500 pounds of plastic out of the landfill.

The total amount of waste diverted during the move-out period increased 7 to 12 percent, a significant reduction in the amount of waste entering the landfill. In solid tons, we kept the equivalent of several African elephants out of the landfill. As the largest of all land mammals, that’s a significant reduction in the amount of waste entering the landfill.