EPA estimates that 75% of the waste stream is reusable, yet we only recycle about 30% of it. Diverting waste from the landfills and incinerators benefits not only the climate, but also the bottom line (most estimates say that 40% of US carbon emissions come from materials!). Looking closely at what we buy, what we use, what we throw away, where we send our waste, sets us up for dramatic carbon savings. Rethinking, reusing, recycling, composting. It all makes a big difference. UB will achieve net zero waste across all material streams by 2030.
Phase I (2020): Establish a working group to determine viable options and pathways to strive for zero waste across university systems by 2030 that will examine our campus purchases and practices, identify the scope of our waste, and create standards of waste reduction infrastructure on campus
Phase II (2020-2021): Assess the scope of hazardous materials and identify safer and more sustainable substitutions, create contracts and make purchases which take extended producer responsibility into account, develop a robust system to promote the repair, reuse and donation of materials and goods, ensure any remaining materials and goods are recycled, and improve access to zero waste education
Phase III (2022): Divert all organics from waste, eliminate all single use plastics
UB will leverage the recently enacted New York Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, the plastic bag ban, Styrofoam ban and other legislative proposals. In addition, our university will leverage its larger "Building the Circular Economy Through Zero Waste" strategy to propose progressive new campus policies that leverage UB's procurement practices, operations and administrative infrastructure to diminish the amount of waste generated on campus.
Captain: Tricia Kandler, director of Facilities and Building Procurement