Be Green! Sort your Waste
Compostable and recyclable materials are good alternatives to non-recyclable single use items. However, these items are only better when they are disposed of properly. Recyclable items must go in the recycling bin and compostable items must go into compost bins. Equally important, trash (non-recyclable/non-compostable) material must go in the trash bin that will be sent to the landfill. Trash that ends up in compost bins have the potential to contaminate the entire bin, meaning that all of that compost may be sent to the landfill.
Be Green this March and sort your waste!
Compost is a great way to recycle nutrients from your food and return them to the soil, and reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill. All food scraps can be placed in compost bins on grounds, but do not put super acidic foods or meats in your home compost pile. Keep your eye out for compostable material across grounds. Most of our dining locations have compostable to-go boxes and coffee cups, as well as compostable straws and utensils. These items should be disposed of in the compost bins located at West Range Cafe, Fine Arts Cafe, or the Castle. These locations have information on which items can be composted. West Range and Fine Arts have shadow boxes that show the exact items sold at these locations that can go in the compost bins. At the castle, all items should be compostable. Below are pictures of the compost bins from The Castle, West Range, and Fine Arts:
You can check to see if your item is compostable by looking at the labels. Eco-products items (certain coffee cups, cold drink cups, and coffee lids) are compostable. Greenware (plastic #7) items are also compostable, even though they look and feel like plastic.
These items can also be taken into the dining halls and placed on the dish return, where all compostable waste gets composted.
For those living off-grounds, compost can be set up through the City of Charlottesville. Visit charlottesville.org for more information. Both UVA Dining and the City of Charlottesville partner with Black Bear Composting, an an organics recycling company located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Check out our Compost 101 blog post to read more about composting on & off grounds, and learn how to make a DIY compost pile.
Recyclable items should also be properly sorted. According to UVA Sustainability, "UVA’s recycling system separates paper, cardboard, glass, cans, and plastics 1-7 into separate bins to reduce contamination. Recycling is hand-sorted and baled and then processed into new materials at facilities in North Carolina." UVA Facilities Management works hard to make sure each item placed in a recycling bin is properly sorted and recycled. First year students receive 2 recycling bins: one for mixed paper, another for plastics, metals, and glass. On-grounds recycling bins are labeled according to which products they accept:
Clean and rinsed out glass, plastic, metal should go in the blue recycling bins, cardboard and paper in the green recycling bins, and trash in the black landfill bins.
Visit these websites to learn more about UVA recycling and composting programs:
If you’re interested in learning more about UVA Green Dining’s sustainability initiatives, check out this link: https://virginia.campusdish.com/en/Sustainability/WhatWeAreDoing