Waste, Recycling & Composting at UNH

Rebranding and Recommitting to Recycling at UNH-Durham 

Please read below about the relabeling efforts, an infographic on UNH Waste, and myths and rumors to dispell on campus! 

University Facilities, along with the Sustainability Institute are in the midst of a relabeling campaign on all recycling and trash (now called landfill) receptacles and dumpsters on campus. That process will also include rebranding, community education and stakeholder training

History: 

With the cooperation of Waste Management, UNH-Durham recycling changed to a single-stream system in January of 2013. We’ve been measuring our progress and it’s time to step it up! Our recycling rates have improved marginally but we are underperforming that of our peers. We know anecdotally there is still confusion regarding the terms "single-stream" and as well as miscommunication over proper disposal of recyclables.

We worked with the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) to complete a waste audit of our campus in 2013. The findings and recommendations to the Energy Task Force showed evidence of inconsistent labeling across campus and an unclear message to the community. We’ve also seen evidence these deficiencies are contributing to negative behaviors.

Moving Forward: 

In the past month, new, standardized graphics have already been installed on all 175+ outdoor dumpsters. The next phase will focus on indoor and outdoor waste and recycling receptacles across campus – estimated at over 10,000 - followed by tailored, collaborative outreach at all key campus facilities  - including academic, public and residential facilities. Our outreach team is leading a coordinated effort with building managers, department heads, facilities operators and student leadership to ensure best communication strategies in this large undertaking. 


Attention RA's, RD's, Staff and Student leaders! Please use the pdf linked below to inform the community about how much waste we create on campus! 

*Waste Standards Used:    - 90 cu yards = 1 ton  - 5 cu yd = 100 lb -  1 cu yd = 20 lbs


Here are some common myths about recycling at UNH and answers to dispel them. 

  • “Single Stream” means that everything, trash and recycling, can go in the same bin.
    • No!  Single Stream is for recycling only, and means that all recyclables can go in the same bin and do not have to be sorted 
  • “It all goes to the landfill anyway; I’ve seen Waste Management put recycling in the same truck as trash”.
    • Sometimes, that may actually be the case, BUT there’s a reason!! If a recycling “dumpster” or “loader” has too much contamination, it cannot be taken as recycling.
    • Contamination includes plastic bags!!! If you are putting your recycling in a plastic bag to take outside, pour it out into the recyclables dumpster and throw the bag in the landfill one, otherwise you are contaminating the recyclables!!
  • “It turns into the landfill gas anyway”
    • It’s true that landfill gas powers UNH, however recyclables like plastics, cans and glass do not break down in a landfill, so you are not helping to power campus by not recycling.
  • “It doesn’t matter.”
    • Recycled goods are often up-cycled into other products, textiles, bottles, etc. Again, these materials will not break down in the landfill and will only increase the space taken up 
  • “UNH already does more than most for environmental efforts”
    • That might be true on the energy and emissions fronts – but sadly, we are far behind our peers regarding recycling.  Comparator institutions with mixed stream recycling divert up to 40% of their waste….We can do better with your help! 

 

What do I do with my...

  • Cell phones?
    • There are bins for cell phones at the MUB Mail Center!
    • Many companies will recycle their phones when you upgrade, ask your provider about sending your old phone back!
  • CD's and DVD's?
  • Styrofoam?

Waste at UNH...

Links

 

UNH participates in

UNH participates in EPA Waste Wise UNH participates in RecycleMania