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Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling

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The Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling SWATeam is examining the Illinois Climate Action Plan goals and accomplishments in this theme.

The ultimate goal in the waste section is to become a Zero Waste campus: meaning nearly all wastes are recovered or recycled, not buried or burned. In FY14, campus diverted 31% of its municipal solid waste (MSW) from the landfill.

To reduce the volume of landfilled waste, campus could purchase fewer nondurable products (go for metal forks, not plastic!), purchase recycled-content products whenever possible, and raise awareness and improve infrastructure for waste management so that a greater number and more types of items make it into campus recycling bins.

SWATeams report annually on progress made toward Illinois Climate Action Plan objectives in their area of focus. Click to view the Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling team’s poster from the Oct. 25, 2018, Campus Sustainability Celebration.

VIDEO: The Basics of Campus Recycling in Less Than 5 Minutes

Click here for the accompanying resource page (referenced in video)

Current Team Members
  • Faculty: Timothy Stark (Chair), Professor of Geotechnical Engineering (2017-) (Email) Read more about Tim >>>
  • Faculty: Robert McKim, Professor of Religion (2018-)
  • Staff: Aaron Finder, Office of Business and Financial Services Assistant Director of Purchasing (2019-) Read more about Aaron >>>
  • Staff: Macie Sinn, Facilities & Services Transportation Clerk (2019-) Read more about Macie >>>
  • Student: Madalyn Liberman, Undergraduate in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (2018-) Read more about Maddy >>>
  • Student: Neal Shannon, Undergraduate in Agricultural and Consumer Economics (2019-)
  • SWATeam Clerk: Julija Sakutyte, Undergraduate in Molecular and Cellular Biology (2018-) (Email) Read more about Julija >>>


Retired Members

  • Ella Liskiewicz, Undergraduate in Public Policy and Law (2018)
  • Joy Scrogum, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Emerging Technologies Resource Specialist (2016-18) Read more about Joy >>>
  • Brad Henson, Office of Business and Financial Services Director of Purchasing (2017-18)
  • Jamie Wiberg, Undergraduate in Architectural Studies (Fall 2018; moved to ECBS SWATeam)
  • Rebekah Jonas, clerk, Undergraduate in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability (Fall 2018)
  • Warren Lavey, Adjunct Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (2014-18) Read more about Warren >>>
  • Ireland Flannery, Undergraduate Undecided (2017-18)
  • Fanxing Liu, Undergraduate in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2016-18)
  • Rebecca Laurent, clerk, Undergraduate in Political Science (2017-18)
  • Brian Plotner, student in Public Health (2017)
  • Bélen Muñiz, student in Integrative Biology (2016-17) Read more about Bélen >>>
  • Meghan Killinger, student clerk in Integrative Biology (2016-17)
  • Dilip Chhajed, Professor of Business Administration (2014-17) Read more about Dilip >>>
  • Marcy Wright, Office of Business and Financial Services Business/Administrative Associate in Strategic Procurement (2014-17) Read more about Marcy >>>
  • Karin Hodgin Jones, student in Urban and Regional Planning (2015-16) Read more about Karin >>>
  • Alexia Bedolla, student clerk in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability (2015-16)
  • Bart Bartels, former Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Zero Waste Coordinator (2014-16) Read more about Bart >>>
  • Rachel Baits, student (and fall 2016 chair) in Integrative Biology (2014-16) Read more about Rachel >>>
  • Elizabeth Shancer, student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering  (2014-15) Read more about Elizabeth >>>


Buying Security: Filings Can Reveal Best Companies

Prof. Warren Lavey’s article about the benefits of greater reporting from businesses on their environmental footprint was featured in the March/April 2016 edition of “The Environment Forum,” an environmental policy journal published by the Environmental Law Institute. Read the article here. Learn more about the Environmental Law Institute at its website:


Return to main SWATeam page


The other five iSEE SWATeam pages:

It won’t take a minute, just Bin It!

bin2For Campus Sustainability Week 2016, we’ve teamed up with Facilities & Services to promote recycling on campus! Do your part by recycling your cans, bottles, papers, and cardboard boxes. No matter where you are on campus, you’re never too far from a bin. It won’t take a minute, just Bin It!

Learn more about what can be recycled on campus, how to get your waste in the proper place, and how campus recycling works — from use to reuse — on the official Bin It website.

Purchase 30% Recycled Paper

One significant milestone that occurred in the first year of iSEE’s Certified Green Office Program was an April 2015 deal between Office Depot OfficeMax and F&S Stores & Receiving, which allows for a ream of 30% recycled office paper to be sold through the iStores punch out for 14 cents less than virgin paper through iBuy. Read more about that new opportunity to green your office here.

More on campus recycling efforts


The Waste Transfer Station recycles or diverts from landfills nearly 50% of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign waste. In fiscal year 2009, the Waste Transfer Station recycled 1852 tons of paper and cardboard, 38 tons of aluminum cans, 899 tons of scrap metal, 38 tons of plastic, 1300 tons of landscape waste and 325 tons of pallets. In addition to the Waste Transfer Station’s efforts, the Campus Garage and Carpool recapped 25 tires rather than replacing them. Over the years, the University has recycled approximately 2,500 semi loads of materials. This effort kept 53,000 tons out of the landfill and generated 3.5 million in cash. The University also recycles equipment, both electronic and non-electronic. In fiscal year 2009, we recycled over 118 tons of electronic equipment and nearly 300 tons of non-electronic equipment.

University Construction Services demolished a Dining facility and captured 77% of the material for recycling. Material included copper, aluminum, glass, baling material and structural steel. This project was completed on time and well within budget. By utilizing recycling of this demolition, the University kept more than 3 million pounds of material out of the landfill. This is the model for future demolition projects.

The Labor Electrician’s shop has operated a Fluorescent Lamp Recycling program since 2000. Shop employees properly recycle 99.9% of all University light bulbs. The Maintenance Electrical Repair shop has also been successful at recycling ballasts and removing copper wiring.

Check out this iSEE article on helium recycling on the U of I campus >>>