Waste Reduction

Pitching In Together: A Showcase of Student Sustainability Projects

Image of the Energy Team During their Pitch

Two sustainability-focused student programs at the University of Michigan, the Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC) and the Planet Blue Student Leaders (PBSL), participated in a virtual “Shark Tank” style event called Pitching In Together in April of 2021. Over the academic year, the PBSLs piloted creative environmental behavior-change campaigns with students across campus, and at this event, SSC heard pitches from … Read More

Sustainable Move Out Tips for Students Living Off-Campus

Ann Arbor PTO thrift shop and the Salvation Army store accept clothes, household items, and furniture.

As Planet Blue Student Leader (PBSLs)s, we’ve compiled some tips to help you reduce your waste during Move Out as a student living in off-campus housing. Live in a Res Hall? Check out the Office of Campus Sustainability’s awesome plan for reusing, recycling, and safely disposing of unwanted items. Tip #1: Breathe new life into unwanted items. Here’s a guide … Read More

At Home Waste Audit: A Simple Waste Reduction Opportunity

According to the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States disposes of 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually – that’s a lot of waste! That waste is made up of a variety of different types of materials, which you can see in the chart below. Paper and paperboard make up 25%, plastics 13.2%, … Read More

Reducing Waste from To-Go Meals

use a reusable bag

Due to COVID-19, MDining has had to adapt their operations for public safety and serve meals to-go. This has been a huge change given that they serve approximately 95,000 meals in a single week. They have done a great job ensuring that as much of the packaging as possible is compostable. But understandably, even with compostable packaging, this method of … Read More

Sustainability Tips for Incoming Students

This month, thousands of new students, both undergraduate and graduate, will be preparing to start their first semester at the University of Michigan. Picking classes, completing required orientation materials, figuring out financial aid and housing, moving or preparing to complete the semester virtually, meeting new classmates – it’s a lot to mentally prepare for, even more so in the middle … Read More

Reduce, Reuse, THEN Recycle

bales of recyclables at our material recovery facility

In elementary or middle school, you may have learned about the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. A lot of attention is given to recycling in order to reduce carbon emissions and conserve natural resources; however, there are still significant environmental costs associated with recycling. For example, recycling trucks that pick up curbside recycling use fossil fuels, and a lot … Read More

How To Clean Recyclables

I often get asked during PBA trainings, “How clean do my recyclables really need to be?” So, I put together this instructional post based on cleaning a peanut butter jar. There are a few different ways you can do this, but this is the one I use. It balances getting the peanut butter jar clean without using too much water, … Read More

Reducing Printing at Michigan Medicine

paper waste

Recently, Michigan Medicine switched to paperless After Visit Summaries (AVS). While this decision was made as a cost-saving effort, a positive side-effect is that this is going to save a lot of paper. Rough estimates indicate that this could reduce printing by up to 493,000 sheets of paper a year. What does reducing 493,000 sheets of paper really mean? The … Read More

Resources for Sustainable Office Kitchens

staff in an office kitchen with sustainable features

Recently at the Michigan League, Barbara Hagan and Nicole Berg from the Office of Campus Sustainability presented on several effective ways to improve the sustainability of office kitchens and resources to help sustainability champions around campus implement these efforts. Below is a recap of the topics and resources covered for those who were unable to attend. Purchasing Choose sustainable foods. … Read More