Ohio University was awarded a recycling grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that will support a 12-month initiative to improve organic waste collection on campus.
OU was awarded approximately $130,000, which combined with additional university funds, will allocate more than $160,000 to a collaborative effort to help reduce the university’s carbon footprint.
The university’s Facilities Management, Campus Recycling, the Office of Sustainability, the Athletics Department and the Voinovich School of Leadership are all part of the effort.
“This semester, the Climate and Sustainability Ambassadors, an initiative of the Sustainable Administration Hub led by Dr. Ryan Fogt, will assist the university with zero waste, alternative transportation, and pollution prevention initiatives while leading outreach efforts to Greek Life and residence hall communities on sustainable living,” Samuel Crowl, associate director for the Office of Sustainability, said.
The EPA’s grant will be used for installing waste bins in the Convocation Center with labels that will help students separate the recyclables from food scraps and general landfill items.
“The bins will be located throughout the Convo, mainly around the interior concourse. Each location will dual-locate a trash and recycling receptacle and in certain locations, a third composting receptacle,” Jason Farmer, associate athletics director, said. “The system is expandable to allow for more broader collection of compostable in the future.”
A new model for sustainable on-campus events will be created with support from the grant. This will include a portable conveyor that will assist with sorting waste materials.
“We are working with numerous groups on campus to better understand how sustainable choices can meet the needs of event planners and attendees,” Elissa Welch, project manager for OU’s Voinovich School, said.
Welch said small professional conferences may use different materials, bins and signage than large sports events or festivals.The EPA’s grant will help to address these issues so that sustainable choices become the norm across campus.
The last initiative will add a new box truck, carts and a conveyor to the Ohio Compost Facility, which will help improve reduce product handling time.
“Raising the awareness about recycling, composting and the power of sustainable choices has led to a host of really interesting and successful partnerships and projects on campus,” Welch said in a university press release. “We have a lot of great student leaders who want to make a difference.”
Two events on campus this semester geared toward raising awareness for recycling and sustainable living include: the Tap vs Bottled Water challenge, which will take place at the alumni gate during pollution prevention week and the Sapling Scavenger Hunt as part of the university's Tree Campus USA commitment.