three environmental goals announced at January’s Board of Trustees meeting. UNC also wants to be and
Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises, said this goal is twofold.
“If we’re going to reduce waste, we can take what’s in the trash cans now and try and recycle or reuse all of it,” Ives said. “The other thing, that’s probably going to be our bigger challenge, is how do we keep stuff from going into the trash can in the first place?”
Ives said the second goal involves considering how purchased materials are packaged.
“Think of all the things that students get from Amazon currently,” he said. “Imagine if we could work something out with Amazon to not have those come in brown, cardboard boxes. Instead, to have them come in shrink wrap that we could recycle.”
Cindy Shea, director of UNC’s sustainability office, said the initiative’s first step will be launching pilot projects, targeting several buildings to significantly reduce their waste generation and waste sent to landfills.
“Sometimes when you’re in a classroom or a meeting room, there’s a garbage can but there’s not a recycling bin and there’s not a sign as to where the closest recycling bin is,” Shea said. “So, one of those strategies is to ‘twin the bin,’ as we’re calling it, to ensure that recycling infrastructure is as dense as the trash infrastructure.”
Ives said there is no clear deadline for achieving zero waste, but this year, working groups will establish five- to 10-year goals.