Waste

Waste Reduction and Recycling Rate | Sustainability @ BU

Waste & Recycling

In FY06 Boston University performed a waste audit on the Charles River Campus to lay the groundwork for a recycling program and discovered a waste diversion rate of 3%. By FY14 BU had reduced its total waste (incinerated, recycled, composted, & donated) by  9% while the waste diversion rate had improved from 3% to 33%. These improvements in waste reduction and recycling can be attributed to several factors: trayless dining, food waste composting, and a grassroots effort by concerned faculty, staff and students across campus.

In November 2009, the University began to roll-out the recycling infrastructure needed to support a more complete program. The campus was divided into sections to best implement the system. Each week a new area was assessed by a team from Facilities Management & Planning and a representative from Save That Stuff, the University’s recycling vendor. The team walked through each floor in every building to design integrated recycling and waste stream systems that would increase the convenience of recycling, clearly communicate what can be recycled, and reduce the volume of the University’s waste.

In FY14, Boston University’s total waste (excluding construction projects) was 9,943 tons, of which 67% was incinerated at a waste-to-energy facility and 33% of total waste was diverted:

Recycling Team

Every day Facilities Management & Planning’s Recycling Coordinators, Area Managers, and custodial staff are working to implement and improve the University’s recycling program. (Photo credit Kalman Zabarsky)

Every day Facilities Management & Planning’s Recycling Coordinators, Area Managers, and custodial staff are working to implement and improve the University’s recycling program. (Photo credit Kalman Zabarsky)

Currently, Boston University recycles many materials including aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper, coffee cups, plastics, and clean milk and juice containers. In addition to these traditional materials, BU recycles batteries, cell phones, computers and other electronic waste, fluorescent light bulbs and ballasts, ink & toner cartridges, appliances, metals, and construction materials.
Learn more about Boston University’s Recycling Program
 – Learn more about Boston University’s Medical Campus Recycling Program
Construction waste is also recycled, but consistent with STARS reporting, are not included in the waste and recycling. Construction waste diversion rates from LEED projects are:

Center for Student Services  89%
Medical Student Residence  87%
122 Bay State Road  83%
85 St. Mary’s Street 84%
87 St. Mary’s Street 84%
Sargent College Makechnie Study Center 83%
670 Albany Street 90%

The University continues to identify best practices and find opportunities to reduce waste, reuse materials, and recycle products at the end of their useful life.

Other waste reduction efforts:

  • sustainability@BU Exchange is a program where employees of the University can swap unused University-owned items for free
  • Donating furniture for reuse overseas through the Institutional Recycling Network (IRN)
  • “Zero Waste” commencement
  • Yard waste composting program
  • Reusable mug program to provide a sustainable alternative to the use of paper cups and single use plastic bottles
  • Reusable mug discount at every coffee-serving location on campus
  • Surplus Asset Management program for furniture reuse on campus
  • Bottle Filling Station installation
  • Paperless payroll
  • Electronic recycling through the Institutional Recycling Network (IRN) and Allied Computer Brokers
  • Ink cartridge and battery recycling
  • Online chemical reuse inventory for laboratories on campus
  • Reduced print quotas for all students with a fee for exceeding allocation
  • Double-sided printing available at all on-campus print center locations
  • All course catalogs, student schedules, and directories available online