Recycling Program History

Late 1980's The Custodial Crew (then part of Physical Plant) took the lead in creating an institution-wide recycling program. The student club (VSTEP) helped set up a committee, conducted research and wrote an action plan. A program was started in the Residence Halls with Residential Life department, and the "vintage" trash chutes were officially closed off.
1993-1996 The program teamed up with UVM Miller Dairy Farm to operate a program where paper fiber (including newsprint and office paper) was shredded and used as "cow bedding" in the cow stalls. The used bedding and paper mixture was then composted on the UVM farm. After 3 years of operation, project ended due to too many contaminants and paper clips found in the cow bedding.
1996 The Recycling & Solid Waste Crew separated from Custodial to become a more autonomous work unit within the Physical Plant. UVM began sending its recyclable materials to the new Material Recovery Facility (MRF) which was built and owned by Chittenden Solid Waste District. The MRF, located just a few miles from campus, originally accepted two streams of materials: paper and containers. UVM used a contractor to haul 30-cubic yard containers full of recycling to the MRF. The Recycling Crew operated out of an old storage trailer located by Centennial Field.
1997-1998 A program to collect food waste for composting began in all dining halls. The food waste was hauled to the Intervale Compost Facility which had just opened up operations in Burlington. UVM Recycling made an investment to place new recycling bin "clusters" in all academic & administrative buildings, and the program began its successful annual Student Move-Out campaign to collect clothing and food donations from students.
1998-1999 UVM Recycling started its very popular Office Supply Collection And Reuse program, known as OSCAR, by the old "candy counter" in Billings Center which was the main campus student center at the time. We also began collecting old computers, CRT's and monitors for recycling in an environmentally-secure manner, as awareness about the hazards of "e-waste disposal" were just coming to light.
2000 We partnered with UVM Environmental Safety to start a household battery collection program in all Residence Halls. Battery collection buckets were placed at all front desks. We also expanded food waste collection to residence hall rooms by providing students with special bio-degradable bags. The years-long "foam polystyrene recycling" program (conducted with Dining Services and DART Container) was ended due to high cost, logistical obstacles, lack of markets for foam polystyrene and environmental concerns about the use of the "styrofoam cups". Instead, Dining Services opted to use paper packaging and began exploring the use of "compostable" packaging, which was an industry then in its infancy.
2001 This was a year of big changes for UVM Recycling. The program purchased a new self-dumping hydraullic collection truck to enable UVM to deliver its own material directly to the Material Recovery Facility (MRF), thus avoiding the contractor hauling fees. Also in 2000, the Surplus Property program, previously operated by the UVM Purchasing Department, was officially transferred to Recycling & Solid Waste within the Physical Plant Department.
2002-2003 The Surplus Property warehouse (a leased space in Williston) was vacated, and the Surplus program was moved around to various temporary and smaller spaces on campus until it was finally relegated to the old unheated Wheelock Barn on Spear Street.
UVM Recycling launched the first ever ECO-REPS program and hired a cohort of students to specifically promote recycling, conservation and environmental awareness among peers in residence halls. UVM Recycling also participated in RecycleMania - an intercollegiate recycling competion among residence hall students. UVM ranked 7 out of 17 schools overall.
2005-2008 After it's demonstrated success, the ECO-REPS program was formally moved to the Residential Life Department as part of its new UHS "GreenHouse" program. The program operated successfully for two years in that location. In October 2007 UVM is recognized as the "Outstanding College/University Recycling Program of the Year" by the National Recycling Coalition at their national conference in Denver CO.
2009 The ECO-REPS program was moved, again, this time to its permanent administrative home within UVM's new Office of Sustainbility. The new LEED Gold student center, the Dudley H. Davis Center opened, launching a new era for efficient handling of waste, recycling and food scraps at the building's loading dock. New initiatives with University Dining Services led to use of compostable packaging products in all dining areas.
2010 Much happened...we'll add to the timeline later on
2014 The daily operations of the recycling crew were transferred to the Grounds shop to increase efficiency of staffing and equipment.