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Sustainability Roundup: New Waste Receptacle Lids in Schine, Campus Race to Zero Waste Competition Results, South Campus Move Out Donations
In fall 2022, Sustainability Management assisted the Dynamic Sustainability Lab, led by Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance Jay Golden, to conduct a waste audit. Students in the lab sought to understand what materials were being wasted and which items were disposed of incorrectly. A total of 11 bags of waste and five bags of recycling were collected the day before from the Schine Student Center.
On a sunny October morning, students arrived at the Carriage House parking lot on South Campus where the bags were delivered by Facilities Services. Once students were properly dressed in gowns, gloves and shoe covers to avoid contamination, they went to work. After carefully weighing and taking note of each bag, students poured the contents onto a large blue tarp. Using small rakes, items that were disposed of incorrectly were separated and placed in the appropriate receptacle. For instance, water and soda bottles were taken out and placed in recycling bins, while food to-go containers were taken out of the recycling bins and thrown out.
They found significant contamination from the bags taken from the food court area in Schine. It was noted that these receptacles included a “recycling” label but did not have the paper/bottle cutout that is typically found on other receptacles across campus.
To decrease waste/recycling contamination, Sustainability Management worked with the Dynamic Sustainability Lab and Campus Planning, Design and Construction to install new receptacle cutouts in Schine. Three new granite tops were ordered and cut with the same recycling slots as the gray recycling bins around campus. The hope is to improve recycling rates and make it easier to dispose of waste properly. This work is a reminder of the importance of collaborations like these across campus.
If you have any questions regarding what’s recyclable on campus, head to the Recycling and Waste Reduction webpage.
Campus Race to Zero Waste Results
Throughout February and March, Syracuse University was part of the Campus Race to Zero Waste competition. Colleges and universities from across North America competed to promote waste reduction activities and now the results are in.
Syracuse recycled a total of 212,846 pounds! This includes bottles, cans, cardboard, paper and other recyclable items. While recycling rates are slightly down compared to previous years, Sustainability Management is attributing this partially to the pandemic and a growing number of students bringing reusable water bottles and containers on campus. 239,892 pounds of food organics were composted, and the University ranked No. 16 out of over 100 schools in the food organics category. With more recycling and waste reduction education, the goal is to increase recycling rates and decrease the amount of waste sent to a landfill. Read more about the 2023 competition results.
South Campus Move Out
With the semester coming to an end, the University partnered with local non-profits to collect student donations of unwanted items prior to leaving campus. Boxes for food, clothing and bedding were set out in the Goldstein Student Center on South Campus during the final weeks of the semester and students dropped off items as they moved out. The Boys & Girls Club, RISE, Peace, Inc., InterFaith Works and other organizations picked up donated items each day.
The results were outstanding, filling the Boys & Girls Club van, donated by the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, to the brim. Sustainability Management plans to partner with the Shaw Center and other departments and local organizations next year to organize a campuswide move out event. If you’re interested in getting involved, reach out to Sustainability Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.