Solid waste is generated by every part of campus. It includes materials purchased by the university, materials carried in from off-campus, and materials grown on campus. The amount of solid waste can be cut in a number of ways that can be categorized as “REDUCE, REUSE & RECYCLE.” The three R’s prevent useful material resources from being wasted, reduce the consumption of raw materials, reduce energy usage, and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Universities must have the ability to support their operations and campus life, as well as controlling the campus’ environmental footprint. These two goals can be achieved through careful management of waste products and improving efficiency with their resources; once these are in place, campus will be able to generate revenue as they save money through fewer purchases. Maintenance & Operations can provide data on these savings via the amount and types of waste that is recycled with neighboring cities.
UTPA has had an operational recycling program since 2005. Currently the campus recycles paper, cardboard, printer cartridges, used motor oil, and scrap metal. The programs are handled by different units on campus: Materials and Operations oversees materials and waste, Department of Environmental Health and Safety handles environmental and hazardous waste, Assets Management handles office furniture and records, and Custodial Services handles recycling (paper, plastics and aluminum). These operations are coordinated, but only to a limited degree as each department works with different areas.
UTPA makes an effort to reuse as much as possible. The university reuses office furniture and equipment. These products are taken from campus to Surplus, where many items are refurbished for reuse. Campus departments identify a need for an item and go to surplus to find it, saving energy and money for the university, and reducing waste. Surplus recycles 90% of its old computers back into the market. These programs are important in making an institution, such as UTPA, responsible for the amount of waste it creates.
HAPPY EARTH DAY
Student organizations join forces to raise awareness about campus waste
Students find new use for recyclable bottles