UT to commission study of campus waste


Pu Ying Huang

Resident advisor Eileen Kao explains how single stream recycling has been implemented into the dorms. Residents now have a single blue bin for all recycling needs instead of having to sort through recycled matter between two bins.

Joshua Fechter

UT Division of Housing and Food Service is implementing single-stream recycling to encourage students and staff to dispose of waste properly.

University officials hope to decrease the campus’ trash output by commissioning a study of how waste is disposed, which will conclude by the end of the fall semester.

Karen Blaney, assistant manager in Campus Planning and Facilities Management, said UT produced 140,000 pounds of trash per week, but only 66,400 pounds of recyclable waste per week during the spring semester.

“We have some work to do,” Blaney said.

She said the University will advertise its proposal for the study to contractors in the next few weeks.

Blaney said the study will analyze, among other factors, how much recyclable material is being disposed of in trash bins instead of recycling bins, and how much food waste is being disposed of in trash and recycle bins instead of being composted.

She said the contractor will analyze the waste output from academic and administrative facilities, and will include the athletics department and University Unions, if those departments decide to participate in the study.

Last spring, the Division of Housing and Food Service implemented a recycling program that provides two waste bins in residential halls: one for trash and one for paper, plastic and aluminum waste.

Scott Meyer, director of dining services at DHFS, oversees the division’s sustainability initiatives and said on-campus residence halls originally provided three cans for waste disposal: one for trash, one for paper waste and one for plastic and aluminum waste.

Meyer said he hopes consolidating recycling bins will encourage students and staff to recycle more frequently because they do not have to sort waste themselves.

Social work freshman Adilene Muñoz lives in Jester Center and said she does not currently recycle, but that single-stream recycling bins may encourage her to do so.

“I guess I’m just lazy about it,” she said.