Resource Use

Goals & Progress

Truly sustainable waste management requires us to first reduce the amount of waste we produce and then divert any unavoidable waste from the landfill. With this in mind, the Office of Sustainability seeks to gradually reduce the amount of waste generated per capita on campus over time while increasing the proportion of waste diverted from landfills (this statistic is called a "diversion rate"). Acheiving these trends will require the university to implement innovative, large-scale solutions to waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

Discover how IU is working toward these goals on the Programs and Resources page.


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The Office of Sustainability’s major Resource Use goal is to reduce campus solid waste by 40% by 2020. This goal is one of twenty goals composing the Office of Sustainability’s 2020 Vision.

To help IU acheive this goal, the Resource Use Working Group works toward the following goals:

  1. To maximize efficiency of campus resource use by ensuring that both upstream and downstream infrastructure/systems are provided to the IUB community to reduce, reuse, and recycle resources.
  2. To increase resource use-minimizing behavior in the IUB community through educational programs and initiatives.
  3. To strive for accurate data collection across all campus entities and vendors dealing with waste and recycling in order to measure diversion rates and ensure that necessary data is collected to meet the goal of 40% waste reduction by 2020.
Recent Progress

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  • Fall 2011
    • Desk-side recycling containers were distributed to nearly every office on campus
    • Building Services began the installation of thousands of new public areas recycling containers in academic buildings
    • Several more paired, outdoor recycling and trash containers were installed around campus 
  • Spring 2012 
    • IUB participated in Recyclemania for its third year; the campus recycling rate was 26%, up from 22% in 2011
    • Several waste audits completed in various academic buildings indicated that the new indoor recycling containers were more effective than the previous infrastructure but required additional labeling to maximize potential
    • The waste audits also showed that the desk-side recycling containers caused nearly complete separation of recyclable material from trash
    • The Working Group helped author a Request For Proposal for a new waste hauling contract with the university
  • Summer 2012
    • Labels were placed on all new indoor recycling containers indicating which materials are accepted by each container
    • Composting operations were expanded at Hilltop Garden and Nature Center
    • A composting partnership with the Local Growers Guild was established
    • The Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale sold 35 tons of material, most diverted from the landfill, for $29,000 to 2,500 people
  • Fall 2012
    • The Greening Cream and Crimson student organization made important headway with providing recycling at home football games
    • The Working Group made progress toward an accurate and detailed waste data collection system
    • IU Surplus Stores began extensively processing E-waste, separating all components for resale or recycling
Previous Internships

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Since 2007, many students have completed internships related to resource use and recycling with the Office of Sustainability. Here you'll find a list with links to final reports or presentations.

  • 2007
    • Resource Use and Recycling Study, Summer 2007; Kate Rosenbarger compared IU's resource use with other universities and made recommendations regarding purchasing and recycling
  • 2008 
    • Resource Use and Recycling Project, Summer 2008; Emmy Giovani investigated recycling best practices at peer institutions and made recommendations for IU
    • Campus Recycling Center Feasibility Study, Academic Year 2008-2009; Melissa Greulich investigated the feasibility of an on-campus recycling center
    • E-Waste Solutions, Academic Year 2008-2009; Laura Knudsen coordinated support for an e-waste pick-up day that diverted nearly 832,000 pounds of e-waste away from the landfill for recycling in the U.S.
    • Campus Waste Audit, Academic Year 2008-2009; Amy Countryman performed a series of waste audits in residence halls, finding that over 50% of the trash thrown away could have been recycled
  • 2009 
  • 2010
    • No Waste Program, Academic Year 2010-2011; Meredith Dowling
  • 2011
    • No Waste Program, Academic Year 2011-2012; Meredith Dowling coordinated the new "No Waste Program" and collected important data on the campus waste stream
    • Campus Waste Audit Program, Academic Year 2011-2012; Mark Milby conducted several waste audits in academic buildings to test the efficacy of new public area recycling containers
  • 2012
    • Green Purchasing, Summer 2012; Oral Saulters
    • No Waste Program, Academic Year 2012-2013; Mark Milby