Recycling Grows at UC By Tons at a Time

In 2010, the University of Cincinnati recycled just over 4,600 tons of material, an increase of about 23 percent over the year before

when UC recycled more than 3,700 tons of material. The most commonly recycled materials are paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and glass. Other recycled items include tires, oil, batteries, electronics, carpet and more.

According to Rick Wiggins, director of UC Facilities Management, UC currently diverts 65 percent of its waste stream into recycling, with the goal of taking that figure to 70 percent by 2019 if not sooner.

“I’m anticipating that 2011 should be even better. The 2010 rise in recycling occurred even though we only had our All Recycling program in place for six months of last year. So, in 2011, we’ll have our All Recycling program up and running for the entire year. That should bring even better results,” he stated.

The All Recycling program placed recycling containers in academic buildings on the Uptown, Academic Health Center, UC Reading, and UC Victory Parkway campuses, and the Campus Recreation Center, Tangeman University Center and all residence halls. Thus, the total number of recycling containers in these 68 locations now stands at more than 900. In addition, 37 recycling dumpsters are placed throughout campus. These recycling efforts are completed thanks to UC Facilities Management and the UC-PACES committee, which includes faculty, students and staff. (PACES stands for the President’s Advisory Council on Environment & Sustainability.)

The overall emphasis on recycling corresponds to a decrease in what UC sends to local landfills. From 2000 to 2010, the university has reduced the overall amount of trash it sends to landfills by 42 percent.

In addition to ongoing recycling which occurs 365 days a year at UC, the university also conducts special-event recycling, which is often completed by volunteers. These include

  • Bearcat Recycling at all special events and major athletic games on campus. So far in 2011, UC has recycled more than 10 tons at these events, a significant increase over prior years. These recycling efforts are completed by UC Sustainability Advocates (student workers in the Office of Sustainability) and volunteers.

  • “Operation Move-In” recycling, which focuses on recycling the heavy stream of cardboard boxes students bring to campus upon moving into residence halls. In September 2010, these efforts led to the recycling of more than eight tons of cardboard, a significant increase from the previous fall when about three tons of materials were recycled. "Operation Move-In" recycling takes place thanks to the efforts of UC Sustainability Advocates and over 100 student volunteers from Resident Education & Development's hall opening team.

  • Re*Use Market, during which students moving out of residence halls or local housing at the end of spring quarter can offer furniture, clothing, electronics and other household items for re-use by fellow students and members of the community. Items not selected by those attending the Re*Use Market are given to local charities. This year's Re*Use Market is set for June 1-10, and donations are accepted in advance. Go online for more information.