Sustainable Materials Management
Ohio State has set the goal to achieve zero waste by 2025 by diverting 90% of waste away from landfills. Energy Services and Sustainability is committed to working with the Ohio State community to ensure this diversion is met. This ambitious goal will require forward thinking, innovation, and involvement by all across campus. Faculty, staff, and students can contribute to the success of our diversion by knowing what can be recycled and what should not be recycled.
CUPS – GO IN THE TRASH
Why? Cups of any size, shape, or material need to go in the trash. Most paper cups have a thin wax or plastic lining that is not recyclable, and plastic cups are made of a low-grade plastic that cannot be mixed with other plastics.
Alternative: Keep a reusable mug or glass.
FOOD AND TAKEOUT CONTAINERS - GO IN THE TRASH
Why? When compost containers aren’t available, food should always go in the trash. Plus, all food containers may contain food residue that can ruin recycling.
Alternative: Use reusable containers when possible.
PAPER TOWELS AND NAPKINS - GO IN THE TRASH
Why? These products are typically soiled with food, grease, or other contaminants rendering it not recyclable. Plus, the fibers in these products are too short to be recycled into a new product.
Alternative: Why not go old school and keep a handkerchief nearby?
Recycling is one way that we can achieve our materials management goals. Materials management requires stewardship throughout the entire life cycle of materials from purchase to disposal. There are many important reasons to minimize, reduce, and recycle trash at Ohio State.
• Recycling conserves scarce natural resources such as oil, water, minerals, and trees.
• Recycling helps reduce water and air pollution.
• Recycling conserves energy as it takes less energy to make new products from recycled materials compared to using virgin materials.
• Recycling reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the amount of trash dumped in landfills and thus the amount of methane emitted to the atmosphere.
• Recycling is an easy and efficient way to participate in the university's sustainability initiatives.
Recycling at Ohio State is single stream (also referred to as comingled), meaning all recyclables are placed in the same bin instead of being separated. However, trash still needs to be placed in a different container. Many side-by-side trash and recycling containers have been placed around campus in common areas and classrooms. The lid on the recycling side is differentiated to reflect the shape of common recyclables such as paper and plastic bottles, making it easier for you to recycle in the correct bin. In some areas, older containers are still used. Regardless of the signage, these recycling bins should also be used for comingled recycling. Faculty and staff and students are encouraged to learn more about recycling on campus.
Ohio Stadium is the country's largest Zero Waste stadium. A 98.68% diversion rate was achieved at the Indiana game in 2014. Zero Waste means diverting 90% or more of materials from the landfill by recycling and composting. Bins for recycling and composting are available throughout the Shoe, and most items purchased inside the stadium are either recyclable or compostable.
Ohio State Stone Laboratory researchers are credited with saving Lake Erie by identifying the problem of too much phosphorus entering the lake. Today, Erie’s walleye harvest is a billion dollar industry.