History of UVM Recycling Program

Late 1980’s - 1993 The Custodial Department took the lead in creating an institution-wide recycling program. VSTEP- Vermont Students Environmental Program (a student organization) helped set up a committee, conduct research and write an action plan. The Residence Hall recycling program started and the vintage trash chutes in those buildings were officially closed. A "3 bin" system was implemented in all Res Hall areas to collect paper, mixed bottles & cans, and trash.
1993-1996 The “Farm” Years: UVM operated a paper/fiber composting program in conjunction with the UVM Dairy Farm. All fiber (including lower grades of newsprint and paper) were shredded, used as "animal bedding" and then composted on site. After several years of operation, the cow bedding project folded: a victim of its own success...and of too many contaminants and paper clips found in the cow bedding.
1996 UVM began sending all of its recyclable materials to the Chittenden County Material Recycling Facility (MRF) located in Williston. A contractor was used to haul 30-yard dumpsters full of recycling to the facility.
1997-1998 UVM Recycling & Solid Waste separate from the Custodial Department to become a more autonomous work unit within the Physical Plant department. Collection of food waste began in all dining halls to be sent to the new Intervale Compost Facility which had just opened up in Burlington. An investment was made to place new recycling bin "clusters" in all academic/administrative buildings. UVM Recycling began it's successful Student Move-Out campaign to collect over 5 tons of clothing and food donations from students to donate to local community organizations. The office also started collection of used overhead film transparencies for recycling through the 3M Corporation.
1998-1999 UVM Recycling started its Office Supply Collection And Reuse program, known as OSCAR, to recirculate used office supplies. The program also began collecting old computers, CRT’s, and monitors for recycling in an environmentally-secure manner.
2000 UVM Recycling and Environmental Safety Facility (ESF) started a household battery collection program for all campus residence halls. We also expanded food waste collection to residence hall rooms by providing students with special bio-degradable bags. A years-long pilot program to caputure and back-haul foam polystyrene (cups) from Cook Commons area ended due to high cost, logistical obstacles and lack of market for foam.
2001 This was an important year for change. UVM Recycling purchased a new self-dumping collection truck to enable UVM to deliver its own material directly to the Chittenden Material Recycling Facility, thus avoiding the contractor hauling fees. And, the Surplus Property program, formerly operated by the Purchasing Department, was transferred to Recycling/Solid Waste within Physical Plant.
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 relegated to the old unheated Wheelock Barn.
UVM Recycling launched the first ever ECO-REPS program and hired students in each residence hall to help promote recycling, conservation and environmental awareness among peers. UVM Recycling also participated in RecycleMania - an intercollegiate recycling competion among residence hall students. UVM ranked 7 out of 17 schools overall.
2005-2008 The ECO-REPS program was moved to a new location in the Residential Life Department as part of the new South Quad "GreenHouse" program. The program operated successfully for two years in that location. UVM Recycling 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 once again, this time to its permanent administrative home within the new Office of Sustainbility. UVM's 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.