UNCG recycles an average of 200 tons of commingled material annually and has an average overall landfill diversion rate of about 40% over the past 10 years. On top of that, all bottle sales (water and other beverages) have trended down across campus; in 2018, sales were down 21.94% vs the previous year. The University aims to become a zero-waste campus by 2050.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are stated in that order for a reason. While reusing and recycling are important, those actions deal with products near or at the end of their lifecycle. Every product we purchase went through an incredible energy intensive journey to reach the shelves in our stores, from the mining of natural resources, to the manufacturing process which often uses and wastes significant material in the refinement process, and the carbon intensive shipping transportation that is part of the global economy. Before we reuse and recycle, let’s give back to Mother Nature by taking a little less.
- ❖ Distribute electronic versions of presentations and recurring news publications.
- ❖ Make use of electronic document software like Google Docs or Google Keep for note taking and sharing.
- ❖ Purchase items that contain at least 30% recycled-content.
- ❖ Buy products that use less (or no) packaging and recycle the packaging (if you can).
- ❖ Make “duplexing” or printing on both sides your default print and copy setting.
Over 380 billion plastic bags and 60 billion single-use drinks are used every year in the United States. About 17 million barrels of oil are needed to create the bottles just used by Americans. Globally, humans buy a million plastic bottles a minute! Sadly, only about 7% of those bottles get recycled. Do you part to reduce plastic consumption - purchase a reusable water bottle and canvas bags. You’ll help the environment and your wallet!
- ❖ Buy reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and cloth napkins instead of paper towels.
- ❖ Use refillable ink cartridges, USB chargeable devices, rechargeable batteries.
- ❖ Shop at and donate items to local thrift stores.
- ❖ Keep your stuff as long as possible. "Retro" styles come around sooner than you think.
- ❖ Repair your stuff!
It’s important for our campus community to keep in mind that Greensboro has one of the highest recycling contamination rates in the nation and it’s an issue we have on campus too. If we want recycling costs to decrease and have more companies incorporate recycled material into their products, then we have to empty our cups and clean containers before we put them in the recycling bin. As consumers, we’re an important factor in the circular economy.
Blue & green bins for commingled recycling can be found throughout campus. Drop-off locations for plastic bags, batteries, ink cartridges, CDs/floppy discs, and cell phones are located on the second floor of the EUC by the ATMs, and in the lobbies of the Mossman, Moran Commons, and the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness buildings.
If you live off-campus within the Greensboro City Limits and have recycling in your place of residence download the GSO Collects app in the Google Play or Apple Store. Use the app’s Waste Wizard feature to learn if an item can be recycled or not - type in an item, like “coffee cup,” and it’ll tell you. There are some differences between what the City and UNCG collect, so be sure to study both recycling guides. Learn more about the differences here.
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