University of Michigan Recycling and Waste Reduction Program

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

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“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is not just an empty mantra at the U-M, where efforts include recycling in residence halls and family housing, “green” office products, and chemical redistribution programs. The latest? The food composting program, which diverted over 15 tons of food waste from landfills in its first year of existence.

The University has a wide-ranging and ambitious recycling program, involving students, faculty, and staff alike. The U-M actively recycles everything from office paper to used tires, batteries, and paint. For more information and links to other sites, please visit the Recycling Department’s website.

The Campus Battery Recycling Program collects batteries for recycling. The program—sponsored by OSEH—accepts virtually all battery sizes and types. Call 763-4568 for more information, or visit their web page.

The U-M is moving toward eliminating the bioaccumulative toxin mercury from campus, with the U-M Health System now completely mercury-free. The Engineering Campus has made great strides toward reducing its supply, and a fluorescent light recycling program has been instituted for additional mercury reduction.

Read more about the mercury reduction program.

OSEH offers a chemical redistribution program for University affiliates in the Medical Campus. Surplus unused/unopened chemicals that are no longer needed are made available to other researchers for free. To donate or to order chemicals from our current inventory visit the website. Please note: this is a secure site; a U-M uniqname and password are necessary for entry.

The University is also an active participant in America Recycles Day, held each year on November 15. Visit the America Recycles website for more information.

Especially for students:
Recycled notebooks made from cereal boxes? That’s only one of the activities of EnAct, a student group devoted to promoting environmental issues on campus. See their homepage for more information about the organization and how you can become a part of it, or go directly to their “Recycled Notebooks” page to learn about this fascinating and worthwhile project.

Residence-hall recycling provides recycling opportunities for all 10,000 students living in UM’s 14 residence halls. Visit their website for more information.

Especially for faculty and staff:
Recycling areas are available throughout academic and administrative buildings. For more information on Central Campus and Medical Campus recycling, please visit the Recycling website.

Buying recycled products also helps with waste reduction and energy management. Recycled paper and re-manufactured toner cartridges are just two of the office products available for sale through U-M Stores. (For a complete list of recycled products available, see Purchasing’s online catalog.) Visit their website for ordering information, and for tips on reducing solid waste on campus.

Waste Management Services operates “The Exchange Files,” a program that allows U-M departments to both offer and request office supply items for reuse. Their web page contains handy submission forms for posting requests online—thus saving a bit MORE paper!

Occasionally, University departments schedule a special Office Clean-Out Day through Waste Management Services. Read the checklist to see what kinds of recyclable and reusable material may be hiding in your office.

Changing jobs? Be sure to read the “Recycler’s Guide to Moving and Relocating on Campus,” available online on the Recycling Department’s website.