Monthly Archives: March 2017

University of Wyoming ‘Waste-Less’ Basketball Game Nets 266 Pounds of Recyclables

UW students and staff members celebrate the Feb. 25 waste-less basketball game in front of their “Mount Trashmore” piles (recycling left, landfill right) to demonstrate how much waste volunteers diverted. (Betsy Trana Photo)

UW students and staff members celebrate the Feb. 25 waste-less basketball game in front of their “Mount Trashmore” piles (recycling left, landfill right) to demonstrate how much waste volunteers diverted. (Betsy Trana Photo)

The University of Wyoming Department of Athletics and the Campus Sustainability Committee scored a victory of their own at the UW men’s basketball game against New Mexico Feb. 25: a successful “waste-less” athletic event and launch of the Conservation Cowboys initiative.

The Conservation Cowboys initiative aims to reduce waste and resource use at athletics facilities and events.

“Trash Talkers” — student, staff and faculty volunteers — helped fans sort recyclables from waste materials inside the Arena-Auditorium. Their efforts resulted in the diversion of 266 pounds of the total 659 pounds of waste materials from the landfill — a 40 percent diversion rate.

A total of 35 volunteers from eight student organizations and four operational and academic units participated in the waste-less event. The Sustainability Club, the Student Dietetics Association, ACRES Student Farm and the Energy Resources Club rallied the most student volunteers. Each student group received a stipend for its efforts, thanks to a grant from Rocky Mountain Power, which additionally provided game-day support for volunteers.

“The game is just the latest demonstration of student enthusiasm for waste reduction efforts across the UW campus since the Sustainability Club and Sustainability Coalition piloted zero-waste event guidelines at the 2016 Shepard Symposium,” says Meghann Cranford, Campus Sustainability Committee student communications intern. “Student group collaboration will be essential for the ongoing Conservation Cowboys effort.”

The pilot game allowed the Campus Sustainability Committee to identify areas for improvement in the future, including when and where to place volunteers; the need for permanent and uniform recycling bins and signs; and the exploration of large-scale composting to allow diversion of food waste and concessions to-go items from the landfill.

“Just as a team never celebrates one win for too long, the Conservation Cowboys are already looking ahead to see how they can use what they learned from this game to spearhead a waste-less football game in the fall,” Cranford says.

Read the full story here.

NHL Taking Water Conservation to Higher Level

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

2017.03.27-NewsFeed-NHL Water-IMAGE

Excitement was in the air on June 1, 2011, when the NHL and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) unveiled the NHL Water Restoration Project through NHL Green, the League’s sustainability initiative committed to improving hockey’s environmental impact. The partnership between the League and BEF, a nonprofit provider of market-based solutions designed to help businesses and organizations balance their carbon and water footprints, made the 2011 Stanley Cup Final the first water-neutral series in its history.

Since then, the League and BEF have helped restore more 70 million gallons of water to freshwater sources in North America through the Gallons for Goals program, the League’s commitment to match 1,000 gallons of water to a critically dewatered river for every goal scored. Ambitions were high, but BEF CEO Todd Reeve admitted it wasn’t to this degree. He initially didn’t recognize how influential a platform the NHL can be. But seeing League representatives such as Omar Mitchell, vice president of corporate and social responsibility for NHL Green, resonate with others while speaking about the initiative, struck a chord.

“They’ve taken this to a higher level,” Reeve said. “I don’t know if that was all built in with the launch of NHL Green or that’s been an evolution of the thinking, but with our partnership with the NHL I feel like both sides have evolved and the NHL’s ability to articulate the value propositions and need of opportunity around water has been really, really strong — far beyond what I imagined it might be.

“I think the NHL has done a better job than almost any company I’ve seen talk about it, of really making that value proposition. In that sense I think it’s evolved into much more of a sophisticated messaging platform than we ever anticipated when we first started working together in a very small way.”

Read the full story here.

Will Consumers Pay More for Recycled Ocean Plastic?

By Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

2017.03.27-NewsFeed-Ocean Plastics-IMAGE

In a move that could increase consumer awareness about marine plastic pollution — and thus, consumer willingness to pay more for products made from recycled marine plastic — recycling company TerraCycle plans to expand its beach cleanup programs to collect up to 1,000 tons of plastic waste globally.

Earlier this year TerraCycle, in partnership with Procter & Gamble and Suez, developed the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25 percent recycled beach plastic. The Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle will debut in France this summer.

TerraCycle told Plastics News that the partners have major expansion plans.

The initial beach cleanups collected 15 tons of material in Europe; Brett Stevens, vice president of material sales and procurement at the recycling company, told the publication that the company plans to expand collection efforts to North America and Asia.

“The collection goals we’ve set forth in total approach I would say probably 500 to 1,000 tons coming off beaches over the next 12 months,” Stevens said. “It is very much not a fad. I think that we’re investing the staff and resources and building our programs with our partners, making this a long-lasting impact.”

TerraCycle’s statements come as other leading companies are turning their attention to plastic waste ending up in oceans and other waterways.

Last month Dell said it has developed the technology industry’s first packaging trays made with 25 percent recycled ocean plastic content. In January, Unilever CEO Paul Polman called on the consumer goods industry to address ocean plastic waste and employ circular economy models to increase plastic recycling rates. Adidas is also working to solve the problem of plastic pollution in oceans by turning this waste stream into new material for its shoes.

Read the full story here.

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