Tuesday August 31, 2010

Caring for the Environment

The University and city will place large recycling bins in the student neighborhood. The University also will expand a composting program started in 2009.

The University of Dayton will continue to take a chunk out of its carbon footprint this academic year by participating in a city of Dayton pilot recycling program that will provide each of the University's approximately 633 units in the student neighborhood with large recycling bins.

The city will use part of a $1.6 million federal grant to expand participation in its curbside recycling program and purchase 8,000 96-gallon roll-out recycling containers, which are more portable and larger than the program's current containers.

"We lobbied the city to be part of this program," said Kurt Hoffmann, the University's environmental sustainability manager. "We wanted to respond to student concerns about the size of the bins. The new containers are 4-6 times larger, which will allow students to recycle more, and reduce the problem we had with recyclables blowing out of the old open containers around the neighborhood streets and lawns.
"Plus, our campus statistics show our recycling rate is twice that of the rest of the county. We figured we'd be an ideal neighborhood."

The financial benefit is that recycling costs less than taking trash to landfills, according to Hoffmann.

The University also will expand the composting program started last fall. The program is thought to be Ohio's largest institutional food-scraps recycling effort and one of the largest university food composting efforts in the nation. Last year, the University diverted 200 tons from landfills.

The program, which started in the University's three dining facilities, will expand to The Emporium foodstore in Marianist Residence Hall, Marycrest Residence Complex and St. Mary's Hall, an administrative building. Hoffman said the goal is to introduce composting to students and staff beyond the cafeterias, and eventually expand the composting program to every building on campus.

"I know firsthand students are more inclined to recycle if it is not viewed as an inconvenience. Students do care about their surroundings and take pride in the well-being of their environment," said Kelly Nestor, vice president of the University of Dayton Student Government Association. "I really am excited about this. It is a good thing for the University to give students a chance to demonstrate their interest in reducing the University's carbon footprint."

The University's dedication to creating a greener campus paid off in the latest College Sustainability Report Card with a letter-grade jump to a B-plus. The University's overall grade tied for second among 16 Ohio schools represented in the study. Since the first report card, the University of Dayton has jumped two and a half letter grades.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.