Waste 101: Programs to Know at UT Austin

Resource Recovery and University Housing and Dining (UHD) have continued to expand sustainability opportunities on campus over the past 18 months in support of UT Austin’s Zero Waste Goal of diverting 90% of waste from the landfill. It has never been easier to learn about recycling and composting, and there are so many opportunities to get involved!

UT Community Updates:

  • Resource Recovery interns hung new recycling and landfill trash signage across all general use buildings on Main Campus and the J.J. Pickle Research Campus to make it easier to know what goes in each bin. Keep an eye out for these new standard signs, and check out the “What Do I Do With This?” Zero Waste Sorting Database to get answers for even more materials.
  • Over 55 buildings on campus are now composting paper towels in restrooms! Make sure to bring all non-paper towel waste to receptacles outside of the restrooms to help us keep the compost bin clean.
  • Batteries generated in UT spaces (offices, dorms, classrooms, labs, etc.) are accepted for recycling on campus. This flowchart helps determine where your batteries should be disposed, and single-use alkaline batteries are currently collected in the Student Services Building (SSB) G1.408AB, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Visit the UT Surplus Reuse Store, which achieved 92% diversion from the landfill in 2020, for great, low prices on apartment furnishings, office accessories, and UT apparel.
  • We are now a member of the Post-Landfill Action Network! Contact Resource Recovery to learn more about using the benefits of this membership, including zero waste project workshops, discount codes for sustainable giveaways, and more.

Student Programs:

  • Did you know that you can help prevent about 30 tons of edible food wasted every year at J2 and Kinsolving dining halls?  When visiting these dining locations, be sure to select only what you anticipate eating to help reduce food waste.
  • UHD is a member of the Menus of Change program, a set of resources and best practices to optimize sustainable and healthy foods on campus.
  • Get involved with UT Farm Stand, a student-run program that operates several campus gardens, a biweekly farmers market, and a zero waste initiative. For other student involvement opportunities, check out this guide on the Office of Sustainability’s website.

Staff and Faculty Programs:

  • Breakroom composting is now available in buildings with paper towel composting in place. Motivated ‘Champions’ have options to collect coffee grounds or all food scraps and compostable packaging. Other Zero Waste Workplace programs include office supply swaps, mini bin swaps, and more.
  • Make your next event a zero waste one! Resource Recovery’s Zero Waste Events team offers personalized consultations, vendor guidance, custom signage, and a ZWEco Supply Store (launching soon via the Event Planning Request Form) for staff and faculty event planners to purchase certified compostable serviceware and rent compost bins.

Be sure to follow our accounts on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with events, internships, and other opportunities (@utzerowaste and @utfarmstand)!

Written by Morgan Laner, Zero Waste Program Coordinator, and Neil Kaufman, Sustainability Manager.

A Resource Recovery student intern hands a composting bin to a UT staff member.
August 27, 2021