Waste Reduction

Carpet recycling diuring move-out


Meeting University Housing's core value of stewardship, each year Housing helps students say goodbye sustainably by partnering with students, staff, and campus and community organizations to donate or recycle items they no longer need. Recycling and donation locations are set up near residence halls to allow residents and their families convenient access to donation and recycling opportunities. The event is volunteer run and relies on the hard work of campus volunteers to divert as much waste as possible. 

Over 150 volunteers participated in 2017 to divert over 129,000 pounds of material from the landfill- our highest diversion rate yet! 70% of the total 630 volunteer hours come from students receiving course credit by putting their coursework into practice during move out.

2017 Metrics

o   Items donated:

o   St. Vincent de Paul: 34,000 pounds of clothing, shoes, and housewares, 1,800 pounds of food, 1,000 pounds of books

o   Goodwill: 26,000 pounds of clothing, shoes, and housewares

o   Salvation Army: 3,000 pounds of area rugs, mattresses and pillows

o   Open Seat Campus Food Pantry: 1,500 pounds of food

o   Badger Caring Closet:  200 pounds of books and school supplies

o   170 futons

o   125 microwaves

o   600 area rugs

o   Items recycled:

o   220 futons

o   33,000 pounds of carpet

o   5,300 pounds of metal

Activities and Events

A variety of waste reduction activities and events are planned annually to support the interest of students. 

Recycling Bins and Composting

Residence Halls

All resident rooms have tri-color recycling bins (cans-glass-plastic, mixed paper, landfill) and an accompanying recycling guide. In addition, residence halls have compost bins on each floor.

University Apartments

Recycling information is available for apartment residents at new resident orientation and through Resident Managers. Outdoor recycling and trash receptacles also include recycling information.

Information Technology

  • Tech Learning Centers use 100% recycled paper for printing
  • Recycle all Division electronics that qualify as e-waste (e.g. computers, printers, TVs)
  • All black and white printers have the default set for duplex printing

Dining and Culinary Services

  • Deliver useable, safe surplus to Second Harvest Food Bank of South Central Wisconsin
  • Compost all vegetable food waste and paper products used in the food preparation process
  • Commitment to compost all dining food waste
  • Refillable mugs for hot and cold beverages are available and users receive a price break
  • Allow carry-out of china from Dining venues; provide drop-off in residence halls
  • Provide bio-disposable carryout containers made with recyclable materials which are also compostable
  • Napkins made of recycled material are placed on tables to promote using “just what is needed” during a meal