Waste Reduction

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

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

Custodial Staff Damon Woodard and Shannon Taylor

Woodard and Taylor

The Samuel T. Dana Building, home to the School for Environment and Sustainability, is one of the first academic buildings on campus to have compost bins for daily use. Last month, we interviewed two people that are instrumental to the success of the Dana Building composting program: Custodial Staff Damon Woodard and Shannon Taylor.   Both Damon and Shannon have worked for U-M … Read More

PBA Spotlight: Paul Dunlop and Zero Waste at the Big House

Paul Dunlop

It’s time for football and the U-M team kicked off its season with many new starting players, new maize uniforms, and renewed optimism that we will beat our arch rivals. One big change fans may notice is the Michigan Stadium Zero Waste Initiative.  Paul Dunlop, the Senior Facilities Manager for Michigan Stadium, leads the Zero Waste Stadium efforts. The Zero … Read More