Recycle @ UM
[photo gallery]

University of Michigan

The Fall 2013 semester marks the 24th year of recycling on campus.  The Recycling Program has come a long way since 1989!

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U of M Recycling Timeline
1970's-1980's
  • Small scale, volunteer recycling efforts.
1988
1989
  • University hires first Recycling Coordinator.
  • Recycling is implemented in the U of M Housing Division.
  • Newspaper, corrugated cardboard, and white office paper are collected on separate routes.
1990
  • The campus-wide collection is implemented, due to a grant from the State of Michigan.
  • Mixed office paper, as well as white paper, is now recyclable, but the two types must be separated.
  • The collection of pallets and scrap wood for recycling begins.
  • Efforts to collect extra cardboard during student move-in, as well as clothes, food, toiletries, loft wood, and furniture during move-out, begin.
1991
  • U-M wins Michigan Recycling Coalition Award for recycling program.
1992
  • Corrugated cardboard and office paper are now collected together.
  • Mixed container recycling is implemented in Housing's Dining Service areas and other selected food service areas around campus.
1993
  • Mixed container recycling is expanded to include residence halls, offices, and administrative buildings.
  • U-M wins Michigan Recycling Coalition Award for Student Move Out Program
1994
  • The paper recycling stream is consolidated. Newspaper is added to the corrugated cardboard/office paper route (but must be bagged).
  • Cardboard recycling at the football stadium begins.
  • Assist in launching a class offered through the School of Natural Resources and Environment called "Greening the Maize and Blue." This class matches student research projects with environmental programs on campus such as: studying U-M recycling and solid waste practices, energy and water usage, and transportation services.
1995
  • The City of Ann Arbor opens the new Material Recovery Facility (MRF), allowing paper recycling to expand to include boxboard, phone books, and bags of textiles. Mixed container collection also expands. The current system of commingled paper and commingled container recycling is born.
  • Outdoor recycling bins are placed around the diag.
  • Newsletter Recycling Matters debuts.
  • Make recycling information and copies of Recycling Matters newsletter available via computer on the U-M GOpherBlue System.
  • Set up email address. Now we're just a keyboard away with answers to your questions!
1996
  • Recycling collection at Northwood Family Housing is now handled through Waste Management Services. Recycle Ann Arbor had previously managed recycling in this area.
  • Begin worm bin composting project. Purchase and distribute 10 worm bins across campus. Bins are placed in lunchrooms collecting non-meat food scraps.
  • Plastic recycling totes purchased and distributed in all Residence Hall rooms, making it easier for students to store and carry materials to the waste/recycling closets.
1997
  • Grounds and Waste Management and Housing use grant money to implement a trial food waste composting program in three residence hall kitchens.
  • U-M Recycling web page debuts at www.recycle.umich.edu. Information moves from the U-M GOpherBlue system to the website.
  • Receive grant from Washtenaw County "Green Backs for Green Acts" program to start pilot food waste composting program. Cooperative agreement made with the City of Ann Arbor to take food waste from three Residence Hall kitchens to the City's composting site. The three participating Residence Halls are Mary Markley, East Quad, and South Quad.
1998
  • Environmental Theme Semester (Winter '98) arrives. To advertise the recycling message, 21 vinyl banners with environmental messages are hung from the tops of kiosks across campus.
  • Assist in sponsoring Ecolympics, a competition between Residence Halls that rewards conservation efforts.
1999
  • Transparency recycling starts on campus.
  • Two recycling stations are set up at Michigan Stadium for mixed container recycling.
2000
  • Mixed container recycling is kicked off at Michigan Stadium at the first home game of the season. 11.84 tons of bottles were recycled.
  • West Quad enters the food waste composting program.
  • Student Move In recycling is expanded to include polystyrene block and packing peanut collection.
2001
  • Spring of 2001 Waste Management Services staff helped train Building Services staff twice a month on how to handle waste and recycling.
  • Fall 2001 started piloting a vermicomposting unit composed of 50,000 worms which composts 50 pounds of food waste every other day.
  • Promoted green office clean-outs, collecting office supplies and donating them to local non-profits.
  • UM was recognized for Outstanding School Program by the National Recycling Coalition.
2003
  • Began Office Trash and Recycling Initiative with Building Services.
  • Cell phone and small electronics recycling begins.
2004
  • UM begins piloting construction and demolition waste recycling on campus.
  • Cultivating Community assumes responsibility for the vermicomposter. The group begins diverting some of UM’s food waste to create vermicompost which then is used to grow vegetables served by University Unions Catering.
  • Piloted two new types of mixed container recycling bins at Michigan Stadium.
  • Became a Washtenaw County Waste Knot partner.
2005
  • The University begins pushing waste reduction as a theme for America Recycles Day.
  • The University renegotiates its contract with the operator of the MRF.
  • Brand new mixed container recycling bins are distributed throughout Michigan Stadium.
2006
  • UM competes for the first time in RecycleMania and finishes in the top 25%.
  • WMS collects a record 14.22 tons of donations during the Student Move Out Donation Program. All donations went to local non-profit organizations.
2007
  • UM competes for the second time in RecycleMania, recycling 1,014,196 lbs. over 10 weeks and finishing in the top 10 in 3 categories.
  • In conjunction with RecycleMania, WMS holds the first Recycling Champions Competition, in which schools and buildings on campus compete for the highest recycling rate
  • UM wins Michigan Recycling Coalition 2007 Recycler of the Year Award for Outstanding Waste Reduction and Reuse for our Student Move Out and Office Supply Reuse Programs.
2008
  • UM competes for the third time in RecycleMania, recycling 995,104 lbs. over 10 weeks.
  • WMS hold the second annual Recycling Champions competition in conjunction with RecycleMania.
  • Recycling Program partners with Planet Blue, a campus-wide environmental and energy initiative to increase recycling on campus.
2009
  • U-M celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Recycling Program on campus!
  • U-M competes for the fourth time in RecycleMania, recycling 89,225 lbs. over 10 weeks.
  • WMS hold the third annual Recycling Champions competition in conjunction with RecycleMania.
2010
  • U-M competes for the fifth time in RecycleMania, recycling 89,225 lbs. over 10 weeks.
  • WMS hold the fourth annual Recycling Champions competition in conjunction with RecycleMania.
  • U-M converts to single-stream recycling.
2011
  • Recycling bins across campus relabeled to reflect single stream recycling.
  • The Back to Basics poster campaign launches.
2012
  • Post-consumer food waste composting pilot begins.
  • Zero waste events are targeted.
2013
  • Dedicated waste reduction programming begins with "No-Throw-Ber Challenge" through social media.

Content modified: Sep 14, 2016