waste reduction

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Campus Waste Audit: Part 1 The Set Up

On a crisp Tuesday morning in February, I was able to join Anya Dale and Alison Richardson up on north campus to witness part of the large-scale waste audit they have been organizing. A waste audit is a way to determine how much waste is being produced, what types of waste are being generated, and which bins—landfill, recycling, or compost—people … Read More

Dorm Move-Out Tips from the Planet Blue Student Leaders

This time of year, U-M students across campus are busy with final papers, exams, and team projects that are due before the end of the school year. They are wrapping up their academic endeavors for the semester, and are focused on representing what they have learned through their courses to the best of their abilities. One thing that tends to … Read More

Another Step Toward Planetary Health: Single Use Bottled Water Plastics To Be Replaced

Key takeaways: U-M Health’s commitment to environmentally friendly operations and a series of agreements with vendors are leading to a major sustainability improvement: the replacement of single-use plastic water bottles. On Feb. 12, water sold at U-M Health will be in new containers. No longer will plastic bottles be used, but in their place will be aluminum bottles and boxed … Read More

An Interview with U-M Senior Vic Fong, Returnables Shelves Project Lead

I tend to think of myself as someone who’s in-the-know when it comes to sustainability efforts going on across U-M, but one project I had, up until recently, not known much about is the effort to pilot returnables shelves on landfill bins. I had seen the shelves popping up in a few different locations across Central Campus and wanted to … Read More

Why Composting Shouldn’t Be Your First Choice

Down-pointing triangle with the words Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot listed in descending order from top to bottom.

I spend a lot of my time talking to people about composting. It is a vital part of the University of Michigan’s strategy to reduce waste sent to landfill and ensure nutrients get cycled back to rebuild our soils. It supports healthy ecosystems and food growth. However, I think all this talk about composting can overshadow the actions we can … Read More

The Essential College Packing List: What You Actually Need to Bring

The time to start thinking about what to pack for college is here! Whether you are a new student or returning, knowing the absolute essentials of what to bring can be a godsend. It can be easy to buy items “just in case” for the school year, trying to imagine something you will presumably need in every situation. However, I’ve … Read More

Let’s Talk about Sustainable Period Products!

A student-led project that recently received grant funding from the Planet Blue Student Initiative Fund aims to decrease the financial and environmental burden of menstruation by making reusable menstrual products free at the Maize and Blue Cupboard and University Health Services. The project leads were inspired to apply for this funding because the average person who menstruates will throw away … 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

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