Secondary Strategies

Launch a campaign to reduce cigarette litter

Though this strategy will not increase UNK’s recycling rate, it is still an important (and potentially contentious) solid waste -related issue on which other colleges and universities are focusing. In 2015, Keep America Beautiful distributed $275,000 to Cigarette Litter Prevention Programs at 73 U.S. organizations. Participating communities reported an average 48 percent reduction in cigarette litter.

Install signage that promotes paper towel conservation

Since paper towels are likely a major component of UNK’s landfill-bound waste profile, develop creative signage for bathrooms and kitchens that encourages students and employees to conserve paper towels. This signage should be installed directly on paper towel dispensers when possible.

Contract with WasteCap to pilot its GoZero services

WasteCap’s GoZero services (planning, communications, supplies, oversight) will help UNK achieve “zero waste” at a large campus event, e.g. Blue and Gold Showcase.

Measure and communicate copying/printing

Departments/offices, perhaps with assistance from Business Services, should measure their copying/printing. They should also communicate to individual employees the quantity of his or her total quarterly copying/ printing. Equipped with these data, departments/offices could set group or individual reduction goals, or UNK could set an institutional goal. Simply making employees aware of their copying/printing/paper consumption (and incentivizing them to meet goals) will motivate them to consume less.

Collect more used and expired toner/ink cartridges

Custodial Operations and Information Technology Services should develop a communication and engagement campaign to collect more of UNK’s used toner/ink cartridges. Additionally, they should create a program in which they collect expired toner cartridges and send them to a third party to be refilled.

Collect more electronic waste

Custodial Operations, Information Technology Services, and other partners should develop a communication and engagement campaign to collect more of students’ and/or employees’ electronic waste.

Benchmark pre-consumer food waste in the cafeteria

Preliminarily measure (e.g., weigh) the cafeteria’s pre-consumer food waste (prep waste, spoilage, etc.) on a per-meal or per-day basis. This will equip Dining Services and Custodial Operations to track this information over time and develop improvement strategies.

Explore opportunities to donate perishable food and/or food waste

Dining Services may be able to divert some perishable food from the landfill by donating it local nonprofit agencies such as pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs, and senior centers. Additionally, Dining Services may be able to donate (or sell?) some food waste to local farmers or composters.

Improve marketing of the cafeteria’s “To-Go” reusable container program

Few students take advantage of this existing sustainability program that reduces food waste.. Dining Services and Custodial Operations should partner to identify participation barriers and market the program more boldly.

Offer retail discounts to customers who bring reusable containers

On-campus retail food and beverage managers should offer a small discount to students and employees who bring reusable containers (e.g., mugs) instead of relying on the retailer’s disposable containers.

Benchmark the total weight of UNK’s outgoing materials

Though this plan’s recycling rate includes an estimate of landfill + recycling in its denominator, Custodial Operations should (and is already planning to) seek ways to measure all outgoing materials more precisely. Eventually, UNK could develop a new sustainability performance metric (i.e., total annual weight of all outgoing materials), report this metric to AASHE STARS, and institutionalize a reduction goal.

Encourage instructors to make syllabi available online only

Anecdotally, UNK students report that many instructors distribute printed syllabi on the first day of class. Instead, instructors should make syllabi available online only. Students who need a printed syllabus will still have the option to print it themselves.

Evaluate the surplus program

Evaluate the surplus program to identify opportunities to increase the re-use of materials. Facilities Management and Planning may discover that creating an online “store” improves participation.