Bart Bartels is the Sustainability Outreach Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), located in the University’s Research Park. Before joining ISTC, Bart served as the Zero Waste Coordinator within campus Facilities & Services. From 2008 to ’13, Bart was the Campus Sustainability Manager at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
In his current role, Bart works with community stakeholders to reduce waste and improve efficiency using a systems perspective. He administers campus zero-waste events as well as ISTC’s Illinois Green Office Challenge, and he coordinates many efforts to reduce environmental impact.
“Sustainability is important to me because when it comes to throwing things away, there is no ‘away,’ ” he says. “We need to stop paying for items we don’t fully consume and thereby pay to haul them away.”
He joined the Purchasing, Waste, and Recycling SWATeam because he wanted to move campus toward its iCAP goal of zero waste. As the Zero Waste Coordinator at F&S, he identified many opportunities for improvement of the campus waste stream and believes his knowledge will be helpful.
Bart is hopeful for the future of waste on campus. “The biggest strength in reaching the waste reduction goals is that recycling makes money for university. Recyclables are commodities that can be sold and at the same time we reduce our landfill tipping fees,” he says.
Bart reminds us that there is a role for everyone in solutions to waste: “If you are not part the solution, you are part of the problem.”