Materials, Waste, & Recycling
GOAL: Net zero waste. Increase diversion rate to 90%.
Cumulative savings: 6.8 million pounds of waste diverted from the landfill.
The UNO produces many waste streams; therefore, focuses on sustainable waste management practices that reduces, reuses, and recycles wastes instead of sending them to the landfill. Below are several ongoing and new initiatives working to meet UNO’s ambitious 90% diversion-rate goal.
Started in Fall 2018, campus recycling is a dual-stream system: Cardboard and Mixed Recyclables (paper, plastics, and metal).
UNO housing remains single-stream, allowing for all recyclable waste to be placed in one bin, no sorting is required.
Electronic waste is either redistributed on campus or, for those items that are antiquated or unusable, processed by a licensed electronic recycling vendor.
In August 2020, in partnership with UNMC’s Office of Sustainability and LiveGreen Ambassadors, more than 400 staff, faculty, and students from both UNO and UNMC, participated in our annual recycling drive. Additional data regarding the event are identified below
Total Items Dropped Off – 29,718
- 861 pounds of VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and floppy disks
- 15,681 pounds of electronics
- 12,876 pounds of paper for shredding
- 300 pounds of alkaline batteries
Total Environmental Impact (actual totals may vary slightly depending on the exact mix of electronics and type of paper dropped off.)
- 28,943 lbs diverted from the landfill
- 74 trees saved
- 393 gallons of oil not used
- 882,742 hours of electricity saved
- 11,949 gallons of water saved
In addition to items dropped for recycling, participants also donated to the community.
- 600 pounds of food/toiletries and $2,555 to the Maverick Food Pantry
- 161 pairs of eyeglasses donated to the TEI clinic
- 12.5 pounds of pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House – which helps to pay their electric bill
Compost Club Drop Off Site
In August 2020, UNO established a Compost Club location outside of student housing on Dodge Campus. UNO now hosts a Compost Club drop off site. For a monthly fee, users are able to gain access to location information for drop off sights to bring their composting materials. Additionally, club members receive compost to use in their gardens in return, or they can choose to donate their compost to other organizations or community gardens.
In November 2020, UNO started Back-of-House composting at the Scott Dining area. Dining on Scott Campus will also be composting their food waste in their food prep areas! By composting back-of-house, we are making significant progress to becoming a zero-waste campus!
Reduced Plastic Wastes
In 2018, UNO has installed 38 water filling stations across campus, which resulted to an estimated 552,313 plastic disposable water bottles that were prevented from going to the waste stream. Lined up end-to-end, the bottles would wrap the perimeter of Caniglia Field 317 times.