Wake Forest University

Waste Reduction and Recycling - Sustainability at Wake Forest

Sustainability at Wake Forest

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Waste Reduction and Recycling

 Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling

The Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling , located in Facilities, is responsible for coordinating waste pickups throughout campus. In addition, the Surplus Property Program re-purposes items on campus and facilitates the recycling of WFU’s e-waste.

Food Waste Reduction

Through a partnership with Gallins Family Farm, Dining Services diverts pre-consumer waste from the landfill to be turned into compost.

The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University, a student-run service organization, works to distribute extra prepared meals donated by the dining hall and other partner organizations to food insecure populations in Winston-Salem.

Dining Services can provide low-waste catering options upon request.

How Recycling is Collected on Campus

Plastic bags that line trash bins are opaque black, and bags that line recycling bins are clear. Custodial staff members remove all bags from waste stations separately, tie each one off, and place them all together in a cart. A member of facilities picks up the bags from the custodial staff’s cart outside the building, and places the bags in a truck. From there, the facilities staff member transports the bags to the facilities yard, separates out the bags by color (opaque black and clear) and places them into recycling or trash dumpsters respectively. Click here to view a PDF illustration of the recycling collection process.

What to Recycle at WFU (Downloadable PDF)

 

Leading the Way Toward Carbon Reduction through Campus-Wide Initiatives

October 3rd, 2017

  • Reduced food waste (3)
  • Plant-rich diet (4)
  • Regenerative agriculture (11)
  • Electric vehicles (26)
  • Mass transit (37)
  • Household recycling (55)
  • Bike infrastructure (59)
  • Composting (60)
  • Ride sharing (75)

FOOD

Do you know the environmental impact of the food you eat? You may be surprised to see that the adoption of a plant-rich diet is solution number four, but it’s true– overconsumption of animal protein not only comes at a high cost to human health, but it is also detrimental to our global climate. Even the most conservative estimates blame animal husbandry for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted each year. Food waste is an even bigger problem. Did you know that a third of the food raised or prepared each year does not even make it to your plate? If more people adopted plant-rich diets, composted organic matter, and reduced food waste by 50 percent, we could draw carbon emissions down by 70.53 gigatons by the year 2050.

A portion of the offerings provided by the vegan station.

Wake Forest Dining is making strides to support diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins. According to Wake Forest’s registered dietician/nutritionist, Brooke Orr, “Deacon Dining aims to educate students and provide a variety of plant-based diet options across campus.” Current options include: vegetarian/vegan options at catered events, the vegan station at the Fresh Food Company, the Performance Dining Station at the Fresh Food Company—which offers a variety of vegetables and plant based protein options daily, and the Performance Dining education program—which encourages students to make half of their plate vegetables and half of their protein choices a plant protein.

Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest has been working to reduce food waste for many years. This student-led initiative repurposes food that is prepared, but not served, into meals that are distributed through community partner agencies in Winston-Salem. The group also gleans food from high-end grocers in town. More than 500 pounds of high quality food, which no longer meets the store managers’ standards, is redirected daily to individuals and families suffering from food insecurity.

Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest repurposes food that is prepared, but not served, into meals that are distributed through community partner agencies in Winston-Salem.

According to John Wise, the Associate Vice President of WFU Hospitality & Auxiliary Services, our campus has also taken substantial steps to divert food waste from the landfill. The North Dining Hall was specifically designed to minimize waste. Both pre-and post-consumer food waste are sent to Gallins Family Farm to be converted into nutrient-rich compost. In the Pit, all pre-consumer waste from food prep is sent to Gallins Family Farm to be composted. Additionally, all coffee grounds from the national brand outlet and student-run enterprise on campus are diverted and composted.

Wake Forest is also working to demonstrate regenerative agriculture in the Campus Garden. Regenerative agriculture restores degraded land through no-tillage practices, diverse cover-cropping, in-farm fertility (no requirement of external nutrients), no pesticides/synthetic fertilizers, and multiple crop rotations between plots. The purpose of these methods is to help restore soil health by improving its carbon content. If regenerative agriculture acres increase from 108 million to 1 billion by 2050, carbon emissions could be reduced by nearly 23.2 gigatons.

MATERIALS

In addition to reducing the impacts of agricultural practices, Wake Forest promotes solid waste reduction and recycling. On average, 50 percent of recycled materials globally come from households, while the other 50 percent come from industrial and commercial sectors. The university is working to educate students, faculty, and staff about the economics behind consumer recycling while focusing on diverting major material streams like furniture, yard waste, and construction and demolition waste.

TRANSPORT

Another key set of initiatives on campus center on transportation. The implementation of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is a great pathway for reducing carbon emissions; easy access to bicycles, as well as the placement of a safe and effective riding environment, could work to increase global bike trips from 5.5 to 7.5 percent, and avoid 2.3 gigatons of CO2 emissions. Check out Re-Cycle, our bike sharing program, which allows students, faculty, and staff to borrow bikes for up to an entire semester. Additionally, Wake Forest administrators are in collaboration with City of Winston-Salem staff to implement recommendations for improving infrastructure to and from campus.

The WFU Re-Cycle Program allows students, faculty, and staff to borrow bikes for up to an entire semester.

If biking isn’t your thing, there are other sustainable transportation options. Mass transit currently makes up 37 percent of urban travel. If usage grows to 40 percent by 2050, we could save nearly 6.6 gigatons of emissions from individual cars. Similarly, ride sharing is free to implement and can also result in a significant reduction of GHGs.

In the realm of transit, Wake Forest’s transportation manager, Arian Bryant, supports “a fleet of 11 shuttles, which regularly run from the main campus to WFU satellite locations, as well as to a number of hotspots in the Winston-Salem community. We have recently redesigned our routes to make them more efficient and user friendly, and are now utilizing TransLoc, a GPS tracking service which shows the user bus routes and schedules.” If you need to travel somewhere beyond the shuttle routes, there are five Zipcars on the Reynolda campus and one at Wake Downtown. Additionally, Wake Forest partners with ShareTheRideNC, a ride-matching and ride-sharing service sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART). This service allows WFU students, faculty, and staff to share a ride with anyone across ShareTheRide’s network of 30+ companies and universities.

One of the electric vehicle charging stations on the WFU Reynolda campus.

Bryant also highlighted Wake Forest’s use of electric vehicles (EVs); many of the vehicles in the fleets used by campus maintenance personnel are EVs. Additionally, WFU’s Transportation and Parking Services is in the process of upgrading all parking enforcement vehicles to EVs. The campus also has a number of charging stations which are free for use by students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. But what is the environmental benefit of transitioning away from internal combustion engines? If ownership and use of EVs rises to 16 percent of passenger miles driven by 2050, 10.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided. With innovation on the rise, it seems that EVs will be among the cars of the future.

Want to learn more about how you can play a part in Project Drawdown and campus initiatives to reduce GHG emissions? Join us for a public lecture by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, the senior writer of Drawdown, on October 5 in the Byrum Welcome Center starting at 6:00 pm. RSVP here.

Hacks for an Eco-Friendly Move

July 25th, 2017

  1. Pack clothes, shoes, and sheets in re-usable plastic crates or even pillow cases.
  2. Wrap picture frames and other breakables in T-shirts, or towels. Sandwich larger items like framed posters between pillows, blankets or comforters.
  3. Pack school supplies in re-usable file crates with handles. The crates will come in handy for organizing schoolwork throughout the semester.
  4. Contact roommates before packing to avoid unnecessary duplicates like area rugs, tool kits, televisions or toaster ovens.
  5. Put toiletries in sturdy-handled shower baskets and re-usable zip-top bags, all of which can fit neatly into a laundry basket.
  6. Recycle any boxes you do bring on move-in day, especially new product cartons and packaging, by taking them to a designated collection site. Most campuses recycle cardboard, and some collect Styrofoam packaging.
  7. Remember to pack enough re-usable water bottles for everyone helping with the move. Move-in day is usually among the hottest of the year.

Move Out, Don’t Throw Out

April 11th, 2017

Below is a complete description of all donation and reuse stations that make it easy to divert waste from the landfill.

Deacs Donate 

  • What? Reusable house wares, clothing, small appliances, school supplies, furniture, and unopened canned/dried food
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Smaller items should be placed in blue Goodwill donation boxes located in the lobby of every residence hall. Bulky items (futons, shelving units, bookshelves, rugs, etc.) must be placed next to the “Deacs Donate” sign  in front of each residence hall. Items for Deacs Donate are collected by the Resident Student Association, in collaboration with Goodwill.
  • Why? In 2016, Residence Life & Housing’s Deacs Donate program helped students put over 5 tons of clothing and other essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.
  • Questions? Contact Elizabeth Leslie (leslieea@wfu.edu) or your RSA advisor. Residents of the Polo Road and Rosedale Circle RL&H Theme Houses should contact their RAs for information on the location of the donation bins in their area.

Recycling Tote Collection

  • What? Small green recycling totes with white handles
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? If you have a personal green recycling tote and do not wish to keep it, place it next to the green recycling bin signs outside you residence hall.
  • Why? Your tote is yours to keep for all four years. If you no longer want it, it will be collected, cleaned, and redistributed to a first-year student next year. Note: you will not receive a replacement tote next year if you choose to give it back.

To-Go Container Collection

  • What? Green to-go containers from Deacon Dining.
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Return any green reusable to-go containers to the Fresh Food Company to receive your $5 deposit back. If you do not wish to receive your deposit back, please leave your to-go container next to the green recycling bin sign outside your residence hall. For the week of finals, bio-compostable disposable to-go containers will be used in all dining halls.

Donate Textbooks to Better World Books

  • What? Textbooks
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? All books can be deposited in collection boxes located conveniently near the registers in the bookstore textbook department– you don’t even have to wait in line.
  • Why? Students always seem to end up with textbooks that the bookstore just cannot buy back at the end of the semester. Better World Books collects and resells these volumes to fund literacy initiatives at home and abroad. Last year, over 1 ton of books were recovered and donated to partner programs around the world.

Recycle Your Notes

  • What? Class notes and all recyclable paper
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Recycle loose-leaf notes, class handouts, fliers and other paper and small pieces of cardboard by depositing them in the blue paper recycling bags given to all residents by their RAs. Full bags can be placed next to the blue paper recycling signs outside residence halls.

Donate Your Bike to the Re-Cycle Fleet

  • What? Is your bike looking for a new home? Donate it to Wake Forest’s Re-Cycle Bike Share Program. Donated bikes will be reconditioned and added to the bike share program to increase the number of bikes available to other students.
  • When? April 28 – May 5
  • How? Contact Lee Collette (colletls@wfu.edu/336-758-6046) to schedule a drop-off time at Outdoor Pursuits.

These move-out waste reduction initiatives are sponsored by Residence Life & Housing, Goodwill, Facilities & Campus Services, and the Office of Sustainability.

 

Reduce Waste at Move-Out

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

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

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

August 13th, 2014
14010083014_106cb21229_z

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

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.

Inaugural Champions of Change Awards

May 6th, 2014

Wake Forest’s celebration of Earth Day this year included the announcement of Champions of Change award winners. This was the first year of the program, which recognizes the creativity and innovation of individuals and teams who work to integrate principles of sustainability across campus. Provost Rogan Kersh and Sr. VP/CFO Hof Milam presented the awards.

Click to view more photos from the ceremony.

Winners were recognized in four categories: Resource Conservation, Service and Social Action, Teaching Research and Engagement, and Bright Ideas.

  • Residence Life & Housing and Financial Services were jointly named champions of change in Resource Conservation. Residence Life and Housing dramatically reduced solid waste and conserved water through renovation and retrofit programs this past year; Financial Services supported the conversion to electronic business processes campus-wide.
  • Campus Kitchen was named as a winner in the Service and Social Action category. Campus Kitchen repurposes prepared, but not served, food from our campus dining facilities into balanced meals for members of the broader Winston-Salem community.
  • For Teaching, Research and Engagement, Lynn Book and her faculty colleagues Angela Kocze and Wanda Balzano were recognized for their work in the new course, “Women, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability.” Students collaborated with community partners Margaret Norfleet-Neff and Salem Neff, the mother-daughter team who founded the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market.
  • Abby McNeal was recognized for her Bright Idea in turf management and the installation of the UgMo Wireless Soil Sensor System at Spry Soccer Field. UgMo is an underground monitoring system that measures soil moisture at the root level and determines when and how much to water on a zone-to-zone basis.

Thirty nominations were received for the four awards. A committee evaluated the nominations based on:

  • The level of participation by colleagues within the department or unit
  • The measurable impact among constituents across campus or in the community served

Additionally, Green Team captains Peter Romanov, Darlene Starnes and Carol Lavis were named champions of change for their departmental leadership. 65% of our departments and units across campus are now led by Green Team captains – they support their colleagues with the resources and encouragement to integrate sustainability into everyday workplace decisions.

Deacs Donate: Reduce Move-out Waste

May 1st, 2014

waste_reductionThose big green dumpsters in front of the residence halls should be the containers of last choice at move-out. A number of programs are available to make it easy for students to donate or recycle unwanted possessions to prevent these items from ending up in the landfill. Read on for a summary of the move-out programs planned for this year.

Deacs Donate

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

When? May 2 – May 9

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. Deacs Donate donations are collected by the Resident Student Association, in collaboration with Goodwill.

In 2012, Residence Life and Housing’s Deacs Donate program helped students put 5,225 pounds of clothing and dorm room essentials into the hands of those in need in the Winston-Salem community.

Residents of the Polo Rd. and Rosedale Circle RL&H Theme Houses should contact their resident advisers for information about the location of the donation bins in their areas.

Questions? Contact Ashley Jones (jonesap@wfu.edu) or Cherise James (jamesc@wfu.edu), RSA advisors

Recycling Tote Collection

What? Small green recycling totes with white handles

When? May 2 – May 9

How? If you received a green personal recycling tote on move-in dayand do not wish to keep it over summer, place it next to the GREEN recycling bin signs outside residence halls. Unwanted totes will be cleaned and redistributed in the fall.

Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability (sustainability@wfu.edu)

Better World Books

What? Textbooks

When? April 30 – May 19

How? All books can be deposited in collection boxes located conveniently near the registers in the school textbook department.

Students always seem to end up with textbooks that the bookstore just cannot buy back at the end of the semester. Better World Books collects and resells these volumes to fund literacy initiatives at home and abroad. Those books that cannot be resold are donated directly to partner programs around the world.

Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability (sustainability@wfu.edu)

Recycle Your Notes

What? Class notes and all recyclable paper

When? May 2 – May 9

How? Recycle loose-leaf notes, class handouts, fliers and other paper and small pieces of cardboard by depositing them in the blue paper recycling bags given to all residents. Full bags can be placed next to the BLUE paper recycling signs outside residence halls.

Questions? Contact Megan Anderson (andersmm@wfu.edu)

Box Bonanza

What? Reusable to-go containers

When? April 22 – May 9

How? Return any green reusable to-go containers to the Fresh Food Company to receive your initial $5 deposit back. For the week of finals, bio-compostable disposable to-go containers will be used in all dining establishments.