American University is proud to announce the launching of organic waste collection for composting campus wide! Organic waste is anything that was once living (and not currently recycled), e.g. leftover food, paper sandwich wrappers, greasy pizza boxes, and anything made from "compostable" or "biodegradable" material, such as plant-based cups and containers. This organic waste is currently mixed with trash and sent to landfill, but through separation we can further reduce our waste footprint. The separated organic waste will be sent to a composting facility off-campus to become compost, a nutrient rich soil amendment. This sorting of organic waste will require a small change in behavior, but will help us get much closer to our overall goal of zero waste to landfill and incineration. From January through March, a new waste container labeled "Organic Waste" will be installed near your kitchen and lounge areas. Because we are in the midst of overhauling our waste equipment, bins, and logistics to implement this new program during RecycleMania, AU has decided not to participate this year while we revamp and perfect our sweeping new waste, recycling, and organics collection. To learn more about organic waste and composting, please click the related link on the side and like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ZeroWasteAU!
What AU is doing to eliminate waste
- Campus-wide organic waste collection will be implemented from January 2013 through March 2013. A pilot project with the Green Office (GO!) program will run from October through December 2012.
- In 2010, AU adopted a Zero Waste Policy mandating the creation of a team to develop a plan for reducing and diverting 100% of the university's waste stream.
- In spring 2012, AU placed 1st in the Grand Champion division of the national recycling competition, RecycleMania. Click the link on the side to see our results.
- AU composts paper towel waste from all restrooms around campus. Green Eagles (student sustainability educators) audited the campus waste stream and discovered that by composting paper towels, we are diverting about 13 percent of AU's waste from landfill.
- AU also composts all of the kitchen waste from the Terrace Dining Room, Tenley Cafe, and coffee grounds from the Davenport Lounge.
- The university is reducing solid waste by replacing bottled water with inline water filters.
- In fall 2009, AU eliminated trays in the Terrace Dining Hall, reducing food waste by an estimated 32 percent.
- The university reuses and recycles surplus furniture by partnering with several area surplus and reuse centers.
- In 2009, the university recycled 43 percent of the solid waste generated on campus by presorting cans, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, batteries, cell phone batteries, cell phones, and fluorescent lights.
- We collect and recycle vehicle waste including lubricants, antifreeze, oil filters, tires, and batteries.
- University-owned electronics equipment can be recycled bysimply e-mailing AUSurplus@american.edu.
- Personal electronics waste can be recycled at our quarterly e-waste recycling drives.
- We collect kitchen grease and convert it to electricity and hot water using a Vegawatt generator system.