Tag: recycling

Waste Diversion on Campus

This material was provided by Dan Liebau, an MTU facilities site engineer, and was originally published in Tech Today on December 14th 2020.

Anchored by the Sustainability and Resilience Tech Forward initiative, Michigan Tech continues to develop its sustainable practices on campus. Campus recycling efforts can be measured by our waste diversion rate. The waste diversion rate is the ratio of recycled material to the total weight of campus’ solid waste stream. Currently, the University has a solid waste diversion rate goal of 18%.

The monthly diversion rate for November was 18.93%. Since the beginning of the fiscal year, (July 2020) our overall solid waste diversion rate is 12.49%. By comparison, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) reported a statewide estimated recycling rate of 18.1% in 2018 – up from 15% in 2015.The intent of sharing campus waste diversion rate information is to educate our community on campus recycling initiatives and increase participation in our current recycling programs.

There’s still work to be done, and this is where you as a community member can help. Making a conscious choice to recycle not only improves the University’s waste diversion rate, it also reduces costs associated with solid waste management on campus. Participation also assists in further developing our current recycling programs and better aligning Michigan Tech with EGLE’s goals of achieving a statewide recycling rate of 45%.

Additional information and updates related to campus sustainability initiatives can be found at mtu.edu/sustainability.


Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

This old quote (linked to both the Great Depression in the United States, and the Shakers) can be difficult to abide by in our high tech world. However, I think these iFixit folks are really on to something here….. free online manuals for repairing anything from smart phones to  automobiles to toasters. Check the site out first before you haul that appliance to the curb…..


Klyftig!

Usually when I read stories about the international waste trade, often it is of the variety of rich countries shipping their electronic and hazardous waste to poorer countries, where the waste is not properly handled and wreaks havoc with human health and the environment.

But Sweden is now importing waste from Norway (and Sweden is paid to take it). It is too expensive to incinerate the waste in Norway and meet Norwegian environmental standards, and the Swedes are so efficient at waste recycling that they don’t have enough waste to burn. Sweden incinerates the waste to produce electricity, and then ships the dioxin-laden ash back to Norway where it is landfilled. Both countries have roughly equal GDP, so I suppose there is no waste trade scandal here, other than to wonder whether the Norwegians really achieve any financial or environmental gains through this exchange.