Zero Waste FAQ

Zero Waste

  1. Why has the University committed to being a zero waste campus?
  2. How will Appalachian achieve the 2022 Zero Waste goal?
  3. Why are there no trash bins in my classroom?
  4. How much waste does Appalachian generate?
  5. Where can I dispose of my organic and compostable items on campus?

Recycling

  1. Can I place all of my recyclables (glass, metal, paper and plastic) in one bin?
  2. Do I have to remove staples or plastic windows from envelopes before I recycle them?
  3. How much does single stream recycling cost?
  4. Why can I recycle some items on campus that I can't recycle at my off-campus residence?
  5. Do I have to wash the container before placing it in the recycling receptacle?
  6. Are pizza boxes recyclable?
  7. Where do I recycle my stryofoam container?
  8. What is paperboard and can I recycle it?
  9. Can I recycle confidential documents?
  10. Who do we call if our central site recycling and/or landfill bins need attention?
  11. What happens to our recycling once it leaves campus?

Minibins

  1. What's a Minibin?
  2. Where do I take my Minibin?
  3. Won't my minibin get dirty or smelly when I put messy items and food waste in there?
  4. I don't have a minibin. How can I get one?
  5. Where's my trash bag?
  6. Do I have to empty my minibin? Why can't a housekeeper do it?
  7. What will the housekeeper do instead of taking out the trash? Is this a way of eliminating jobs?
  8. What will happen to my old trash bin?
  9. I didn't need a new trash bin. How much did this cost?
  10. I'm still skeptical...Is there proof that a minibin system will increase recycling rates?
  11. Where's the composting option at the central collection sites?

 

 

Zero Waste

Why has the University committed to being a zero waste campus?

Through the zero waste commitment, Appalachian will:

  • Reduce the university's impact on the environment
  • Increase awareness of personal waste stream
  • Reduce unnecessary and wasteful purchasing
  • Increase recycling revenues while reducing landfill fees
  • Increase effectiveness of waste handling and housekeeping processes
  • Educate our students and community members in environmental stewardship.

How will Appalachian achieve the 2022 Zero Waste goal?

We are all a part of the solution. By changes to the way landfill waste and recyclables are handled we will reduce our consumption of wasteful materials, reuse products whenever possible, recycle all left over materials and compost organic materials when possible.

Why are there no trash bins in my classroom?

Along with the switch to single stream recycling, Appalachian will move trash bins from individual classrooms to central waste stations. These stations will have landfill bins and recycling bins. This initiative is one of the identified actions to achieve zero waste.

How much waste does Appalachian generate?

In 2012, our campus generated approximately 3400 tons of waste. Appalachian has diverted as much as 40 percent of waste (through composting, recycling, and reusing) in one year. Our ultimate goal is a 90 percent diversion rate! Click here to learn more about recycling rates.

The university is conducting a comprehensive waste audit in spring of 2013. This initiative will give us data about the types of landfill and recyclable material generated and where the material is coming from. The waste audit data will inform our waste reduction and recycling processes.

Where can I dispose of my organic and compostable items on campus?

Appalachian currently collects pre-consumer compost from the Central Dining Facility and A.C.T. sponsored events in the Plemmons Student Union. Office of Sustainability staff are currently working to provide more collection options throughout campus. We do not have a location for you to drop off compostable items at this time.

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Recycling

Can I place all of my recyclables (glass, metal, paper and plastic) in one bin?

Yes, Appalachian now has 'single stream' recycling. Single stream recycling means that multiple types of recycling (glass, metal, plastic, and paper) can be mixed in one bin. It is sorted by an outside agency.

Do I have to remove staples or plastic windows from envelopes before I recycle them?

No. Without removing staples, paperclips or plastic windows from envelopes you can place them in the recycling receptacle.

How much does single stream recycling cost?

It's FREE. A regional recycling company pays for the hauling and sorting of Appalachian's recyclables in exchange for the materials. It also SAVES Appalachian money. The more recyclable materials we divert the lower the landfill fees.

Why can I recycle some items on campus that I can't recycle at my off-campus residence?

Different management operations have different recycling capabilities. Appalachian uses a different vendor than the Town of Boone and other municipalities.

Do I have to wash the container before placing it in the recycling receptacle?

The container does not need to be washed, but it does need to be 'rinse-clean'. Food residue is considered contamination and while some residue is acceptable, a considerable amount is not and could cause materials to be sent to the landfill. Rinsing or wiping food residue keeps odors to a minimum and reduces pests. Paper products with food residue should not be recycled.

Are pizza boxes recyclable?

Pizza boxes and waxy food wrappers and containers are not recyclable because of the greasy food residue and waxy coating. If the top of a pizza box is free of grease stains, it can be detached from the bottom and placed with corrugated cardboard recycling. Click here to view our recycling guide.

Where do I recycle my stryofoam container?

Styrofoam containers are not recyclable at Appalachian. Bringing your beverage containers will help reduce styrofoam and non-recyclable waste.  Plan to dine-in, and bring a reusable container for any leftovers.

What is paperboard and can I recycle it?

Paperboard is thin cardboard packaging that is often used for cereal and cracker boxes. It can be recycled in any single stream recycling container throughout campus.

Can I recycle confidential documents?

Yes. Call 262-3190 to schedule pick up. If you have too many documents to shred, request a bin. Recycling will deliver the bin, pick it up when you're ready, and shred the documents for you.

Who do we call if our central site recycling and/or landfill bins need attention?

If recycling or landfill central sites need assistance call 262-3190. Housekeepers will monitor central collection locations twice a day and empty bins as frequently as necessary.

What happens to our recycling once it leaves campus?

The recycling is handled by a company in North Wilkesboro called Foothills Sanitation and Recycling. They process our mixed recycling by hand sorting it all into the different commodity categories. Once sorted they bale and process the material and then work with a broker to sell the products to the highest market at the time. They do their best to market all the materials within the southeast region of the United States. There are times when the corrugated cardboard is in higher demand in Asian Countries so this commodity is marketed internationally when the demand is on the rise.

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Minibins

What's a Minibin?

A minibin is a landfill waste receptacle that attaches on the side of a desk recycling bin. Minibins will be deployed into academic and administrative offices beginning March 11, 2013. Non-recyclable items like food, gum, chip bags and wax coated drink cups go in the minibin. Most office waste is recyclable, and can be mixed together in the blue recycling bin. A minibin system typically increases recycling by 30 percent.

Where do I take my Minibin?

Eventually, each floor of all academic and administrative buildings will have multiple collection points. Break rooms, work rooms, exits and a central spot on each floor will have collection areas for recycling and landfill items. Bathroom trash will not be recycled.

Won't My minibin get dirty or smelly when I put messy items and food waste in there?

Bin liners will not be provided for minibins so we recommend that dirty items and/or smelly food items be placed immediately in the central collection bins. Some staff may opt to use grocery bags as bin liners for the minibins. You can also rinse when needed and wipe your minibin with a paper towel.

I don't have a minibin. How can I get one?

Minibins are coming to your building soon. Click here to view our minibin roll out schedule. Even without a minibin you can start single stream recycling right now!

Where's my trash bag?

Bin liners are just another form of trash. Appalachian used over 323,500 bin liners last year. Let's REDUCE and SAVE money simultaneously. Bin liners will still be used in central collection cans, but office cans will be liner-free. This will reduce our liner use by 88,500 plastic bags a year.

Do I have to empty my minibin? Why can't a housekeeper do it?

The simple answer is: "When you take care of it, you're aware of it." Pilot tests in Raley Hall show that recycling rate nearly tripled over night. It can be done any time you get up to take a break. Housekeepers are not allowed to empty your landfill minibin.

What will the housekeeper do instead of taking out the trash? Is this a way of eliminating jobs?

No! Housekeeper efforts will be refocused on disinfecting high use areas like bathrooms, classrooms and hallways. In addition, offices will receive a thorough cleaning once a week. Click here to learn more about cleaning frequencies and services.

What will happen to my old trash bin?

Your old trash bin will be reused. Eventually it will be sold for surplus. It will NOT be thrown away!

I didn't need a new trash bin. How much did this cost?

The new bins cost $5.45 (total combined cost for the blue recycling bin and minibin) and will pay for themselves in 60 days with a recycling rate of 25 percent. Minibins serve as a visual reminder that most of your office waste is recyclable.

I'm still skeptical...Is there proof that a minibin system will increase recycling rates?

Weekly Recycling in Raley up 200% when minibins were introduced in January 2013.Raley Hall has piloted this system since January 2013. The recycling rate has gone up 900 percent from 6 bags to 60 bags of recycling. UNC Charlotte implemented this program in 2011 and increased their recycling by 25 percent. In Ontario, 24,000 government employees began emptying their minibins and reduced waste by 75 to 95 percent annually saving the city of Ontario over $1,000,000.

Where's the composting option at the central collection sites?

Academic building and office composting won't be offered this year, but it's coming. Currently our dining halls are composting pre-consumer foods in the Appalachian compost facility on State Farm Road. This compost provides rich organic matter reused in landscaping applications on campus.

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