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Efforts to increase recycling and composting at University of Wisconsin-Stout are paying off.
Earlier this year UW-Stout instituted a campuswide program to encourage more recycling and composting. In all buildings trash containers have been removed from classrooms and meeting rooms. They have been replaced with larger containers mainly in hallways and near building entrances that are intended for items that can be recycled, used for compost or sent to the landfill.
The impact of the changes helped the university receive $2,500 this fall from Advanced Disposal of Eau Claire.
As part of the nationwide Recyclemania competition last spring, UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire competed against each other in a challenge by Advanced Disposal, formerly Veolia. By placing 115th nationally compared to Eau Claire's 203rd-place finish, UW-Stout earned the $2,500 check for use in its sustainability programs.
UW-Stout also won the challenge against UW-Eau Claire in 2012.
Other results from Recyclemania showed UW-Stout's progress. UW-Stout improved more than 87 places this year in the competition, which included 523 universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada. In the grand champion, or overall, division of Recyclemania UW-Stout ranked 115th compared to 202nd in 2012.
The goal of Recyclemania is to promote recycling and reduction of waste on campuses.
Most notably, the amount of trash UW-Stout collected in relation to recyclables and compost fell from 66 percent to 58 percent. The amount of compostable material collected rose 10 percent.
Among UW System schools competing in Recyclemania, UW-Stout ranked fifth in the grand champion division with a recycling rate of 30.6 percent. The top four were UW-Platteville 40 percent, UW-River Falls 39.5, UW-Milwaukee 38.6 and UW-Whitewater 32.4.
Since January 2010 UW-Stout has diverted 284 tons — 568,000 pounds — of food waste and compostable materials from the landfill. Initially, the composting program was in dining halls and the Memorial Student Center before going campuswide this year.
For more information about campus sustainability programs, click here.