Leaders replan trash system to reduce waste

The Twin Cities campus may boost recycling and composting efforts to mirror other schools.

by Eliana Schreiber

In order to reduce waste on the Twin Cities campus, University of Minnesota Senate leaders want the school to follow the example of waste policies at other system campuses.  
At a meeting late last month, the Senate’s Social Concerns Committee discussed potentially increasing recycling and composting efforts to reduce waste. The committee is working with University Dining Services and Facilities Management to draft and present waste policy changes at a Senate meeting next week.
Committee members have discussed the possible changes for about three weeks, Student Senate Consultative Committee Chair Rob Stewart said, but adjusting policies in place could take many months because of the campus’ large size.
He said the committee will look to waste management policies and efforts at the University of Minnesota-Morris as a model for changes at the Twin Cities campus.
“The Morris campus has really been a leader in a lot of these campus sustainability efforts,” Stewart said. 
Morris attributes their trash management success to signage around campus, students being well-informed on recycling issues and having more waste bins, he said. 
“Each campus does things differently because they have different circumstances, like size or environment,” Stewart said, adding that their success is partly accredited to their small campus population, which consists of about 1,900 students.
The Student Senate will also look into altering the language of the policies in place, he said.
Martin Zais, an environmental studies senior at Morris, works in their Office of Sustainability to help implement campus-wide waste management. 
Zais said the campus started composting in 2012 and used posters and emails to inform students of the change.
The most effective education tool, he said, is building relationships with students, faculty and staff by having conversations about environmental concerns.
Social Concerns Committee Chair Randy Croce said their end goal is to conserve energy and reduce waste on the Twin Cities campus.
“If we find some good models … and we come up with some good ideas, we’ll make a resolution and bring it before the Senate,” he said.