Recycling + Waste Reduction
Mention sustainability and the things that often come to mind first are recycling and waste reduction. With a little effort from everyone, the amount of material sent to the landfill is reduced.
The University of Iowa has transformed the way it manages recyclable materials by introducing a new single-stream recycling program across campus. Single stream recycling means that newspaper, office paper, cardboard, lab plastics, nonredeemable drink containers, plastics, tin, aluminum, and most food containers can now be placed in the same collection bin instead of being sorted into individual containers. Learn more...
Live off campus Iowa City and don't have curbside recycling? See this information from the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center for recommendations for apartment and condominium recycling. There are also several drop off locations in Iowa City for recyclables, including the East Side Recycling Center, located at 2401 Scott Blvd. SE, a site for citizens to reuse and recycle materials and to learn about waste, stormwater, energy and green building.
Waste audits are a key component to discovering opportunities for reduction, reuse and recycling. Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability collaborate with several community partners to proctor waste audits with the University community. The audits provide students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to examine the actual composition of their waste stream and review baseline data for planning future reduction efforts - reducing landfill waste. Interested in conducting a waste audit for your UI community? Let us know.
Since 2007, food waste from Hillcrest and Burge dining hallshas been composted with other organic waste at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. A pulper at the Hillcrest Marketplace installed in fall 2012 can save about 1.5 million gallons of water each year and save over $17,000 a year in water and detergent costs. Each week, about 2,800 pounds of food waste is collected and composted from Hillcrest.
In March 2013, Food and Nutrition Services at University Hospitals and Clinics began composting food waste at six cafeterias. So far, approximately 1.5 tons of food waste is being diverted from the landfill each week as part of the compost program with only 9 percent of the food purchased going to the landfill.
The UI also does small scale composting. The Office of Sustainability provides containers for composting at large events and meetings on campus. Here's a form to check out the Cleartainers for your event.
Students living in the University of Iowa residence halls can reduce the amount of landfill waste by donating furniture, clothing, housewares, and other items at the Move-Out Donation Drive in May. The effort is organized by UI Housing, Goodwill of the Heartland, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Office of Sustainability, and the City of Iowa City. Students from UI student environmental organizations help load the items on the Goodwill and ReStore trucks. The Crisis Center of Johnson County collects non-perishable food, unopened hygiene items and cleaning supplies in the lobby of each residence hall during move-out week.
Andrea Uhl, a graduate student in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, started the drive as her class project for her undergraduate Sustainable Systems class. In May 2012, the two-day drivenetted 3,733 pounds of material from the three locations.
University Surplus sells equipment, furniture and other goods, and recycles items that cannot be reused through demanufacturing, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to the landfill. Learn more...
Rummage in the Ramp
Rummage in the Ramp is an annual Iowa City-sponsored effort that began in 2007 in order to keep tons of reusable items out of the landfill and get it to those who need it when the lease changeover occurs annually at the end of July. Environmental and human services non-profit groups provide the labor and split the profits. University of Iowa students, staff and faculty are among the volunteers that make this a successful event: UI Engineers for a Sustainable World, UI Urban and Regional Planning Student Association, UI Engineers without Borders, UI Homecoming Committee. Learn more...
The Furniture Project
The Furniture Project is a program that provides good used furniture to local households in need at no cost. It is managed by the Habitat ReStore and sponsored by the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. Placement of the furniture is made through referrals from various local human service agencies. The service area includes all of Johnson County and the communities of Kalona and Riverside. This partnership annually benefits hundreds of families in Johnson County and diverts about two tons of reusable furniture from the landfill each month. Learn more...