__News to ReUse_____________ March 2021
Chair's Message
Greetings CURC members and friends! 

As we get closer to the beautiful season of Spring, I hope you all are enjoying the sunny, warmer days we have been experiencing. It is certainly a welcome delight with everything we have been going through over the past year. My hope for you all is that you are able to move through the rest of this semester with ease, and use the summer to create a path to a successful fall semester. As always, we value and appreciate you all and the efforts you continue to make toward a more sustainable future! 

Our 2021 webinar series is in full swing and we hope you all can join us for these beneficial events. We have some very exciting topics to cover this year so be sure to tune in! If you want to get involved by sharing a case study or suggesting a peer institution doing great work, please reach out and let us know. You can find more info about the series here.

We continue to prioritize our work around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. We held our first JEDI committee meeting and have developed some strategic direction moving forward. We are grateful for the input of our membership, and appreciate the members who have stepped up to be a part of these important conversations. It is not too late if you would like to be a part of this committee. Just send us an email at [email protected] and we will be in touch! 

We love celebrating all the many contributions to zero waste and sustainability, and we need more of this recognition in times like these, so we need your help. As you have probably seen in the newsletters and on our social media outlets, we have been sharing campus and member spotlights and honoring the great work we are all a part of, so please nominate someone or some program today: http://curc3r.org/contact-us/curc-member-social-spotlight/

Please check out more info below about what we have been working on. Thanks for all you do to make a difference in the world! 

With Gratitude, 

Jennifer Maxwell, CURC Chair
Sustainability Program Manager, Appalachian State University
Safety & Sustainability: Reusable Dining during COVID-19
April 15, 2-3:00pm EST

Registration will be sent out soon

The confusion around COVID-19 caused some well-documented suspicion of the safest ways to share materials like dishes or re-usable bags. The plastic industry was quick to encourage single-use plastics as the safest option, even without significant evidence.

To avoid an increase in landfill disposables, these campus dining operations took advantage of the changes under the pandemic to both keep their campus safe and move to a zero waste alternative. Whether it was a complete remodel or a campaign to make a change, these offices did what they could to shift their waste stream. Join us April 15th to learn how your campus dining could transform to a safe, sustainable and affordable program.

We will be hosting speakers from Northwestern University and Oregon State University.
To learn more about the content in this program, read our case study created with Northwestern University in the summer of 2020.

To review CURC's past webinars to get free resources & education, see our archive in full by clicking below

Southeastern Student Sustainability Conference
March 26-28, 2021

This annual conference, hosted by Kennesaw State University, brings together student EcoReps, sustainability interns, and faculty and staff advisers from around the region for a weekend of peer leadership training and collaboration.This conference is a great opportunity to learn from your peers, share your successes (and get constructive feedback), and get inspiration you can bring back to your own campus.

This conference will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline to register is March 19, so click here to learn more and register.
EcoCareers 2021 Virtual Conference
April 7-8 2021

Are you ready for a career in the green economy? Do you want to work towards a socially and environmentally responsible future? Register today for the National Wildlife Federation’s virtual EcoCareers Conference on April 7-8, 2021.

Hear from leading experts and learn more about:

  • Preparing for the shift toward a clean economy
  • Developing effective, personalized career plans
  • Exploring online sustainability career development resources
  • Identifying top degree programs and project learning credentials
  • Interacting with others across fields, from climate change resilience to finance to food justice to the arts and beyond!

*Registration is free for NWF EcoLeader members (and registration is free to become an EcoLeader member!)
Zero Waste Campus Council:
Meet Up, Waste Down
Tuesday, March 23 10AM PST/1PM EST

The Zero Waste Campus Council (ZWCC) is hosting its monthly Meet Up, Waste Down on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 10 am PST/1 pm EST via Zoom!

These meetings are held for one hour every 4th Tuesday of the month at 10 am PST/1 pm EST via Zoom. We will have an initial welcome and introductions and then people can move to the breakout rooms to talk about various topics from zero waste planning to implementation to outreach and education, and everything in between and beyond. Topics will change from month to month.

Register for this month’s conversation here: http://tinyurl.com/ZWCCMEETUP. (If you already received a calendar invite, no need to re-register). Open to all, no cost.
Reframing Recycling
NERC's Spring Virtual Conference
March 30-31

The Northeast Recycling Council’s (NERC) Spring Conference—Reframing Recycling—will focus on what we have learned from past experience, and provide a forum for discussing the industry’s future. The Conference Agenda features panel discussions and sessions with recycling’s most influential professionals from the US, Canada, and Germany.

NERC has launched the Next Generation Scholarship Fund to support DEI and to introduce scholars to the topics of sustainable materials management featured at NERC’s Conferences. Scholarships will be awarded to select students interested in attending NERC’s Conferences and learning about the recycling industry.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of NERC’s Next Generation Scholarship Fund, please contact Mary Ann Remolador, or call: 802-451-8852. 
New CURC Resources and Opportunities
Missed the last webinar?
Watch the recording on sustainable purchasing

As always, visit our webinar archive for plenty of webinars for free at your convenience.

See you next webinar!
Campus Race to Zero Waste
How is your campus doing in the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste?

Campus are encouraged to host online education and engagement campaigns this spring to keep your students, faculty and staff involved in sustainability and waste reduction practices.

Adapting to the pandemic? Check out the new CR2ZW guide with ideas and resources for online campaigns.

Kennesaw State Contamination Tracking Project Employs Student Leadership
Kennesaw State University’s Office of Sustainability is tying together recycling collection, student internships and an innovative waste audit system into a single pilot program. Across 10 select campus buildings, a group of 4 interns have taken over recycling & waste collection. These student employees work in a rewarding position that does more than sort waste- it serves a greater sustainability effort. 
This pilot program first was conceived as a way to both involve students and to collect data on the campus waste stream. Building Services usually facilitates waste collection at Kennesaw State, but the Office of Sustainability was getting lots of requests to work on improving the campus recycling program. The two offices decided to choose a few buildings which only the Office of Sustainability would begin to collect recycling & waste from, giving them the freedom to operate and improve upon the recycling in those areas. 
“Our facilities director at the time had this idea- let’s really bring the students into the ownership of this recycling,” says Jennifer Wilson, Kennesaw State’s Sustainability Coordinator. Wilson describes recycling as a gateway for students to broader ideas of sustainability, and she values the creativity and energy students bring to the program.
The project is a combination of waste collection & informal waste audits. Each intern is scheduled to visit the buildings they service and inspect each waste receptacle, which is uniquely labeled. Using an online form supported by the Kennesaw State IT department, interns record key data points for each recycling bin including if the container is contaminated, what the contaminants are and if they sorted out the contamination or not. Once the mini-audit is completed, the students take out the waste and move on to the next container. However, the team from Kennesaw State stresses that this is about more than sorting out other people’s contamination.

“We’ve had a new intern start and they kind of want to be able to pick out every piece of contamination in the bin so we can have a beautiful looking recycling stream,” says Seth Moore, a student working on the project. “But it definitely takes a little bit of experience and training for new interns to be able to understand what the overall goal with this is- so we can change our recycling system so we don’t see that contamination in the first place.”
The data from the forms each intern submits is compiled and analyzed in a master Excel sheet. Using this research, which includes anything from frequency of service to the type of signage on each particular bin, a pool of information is created to guide changes to their recycling program. 

“That’s let us see basically the equivalent of conducting a waste audit everyday,” Wilson says. “The data piece really lets us look at, okay, how do we address contamination differently going forward and how do we provide better outreach materials”. 
The team uses the data to better understand contamination patterns and make the case to get support when they need it, whether it be a move towards source-separated recycling or getting a paper baler. Interns working on this program have created videos for outreach based on their findings and will use this data to guide waste collection scheduling in the future. The student interns share an integral role in informing the campus's waste efforts moving forward and get a meaningful look inside a recycling career.
“I’ve personally taken a lot out of this education,” Moore says. “Being in a place that we feel like what we’re doing matters and the projects we work on actually get to impact change where we are on the local level, it's a good feeling. So I feel like it gives us not only the experience but also the passion to go forward and do more projects like this in the future.”

Written by Eric Halvarson

If you have questions related to Kennesaw State's programs, visit their website sustainability.kennesaw.edu or you can email Seth Moore, one of the student interns interviewed for this article at [email protected].

You can also follow them on Instagram @sustainableKSU
Will you be in the next #CURCCampusSpotlight?

We want to share your campus story with other CURC members and recognize how amazing our network is. We are especially looking for campuses working on social justice programs!

Popular News

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Asks how recycling infrastructure might change for home collection with increase in recyclables & packaging.

-Charles Wade-Palmer Read here

“Good to Geaux” reusable containers arrive at several campus dining spots

This university introduces reusable dining to reduce maintenance costs & keep over 200,000 plastic containers out of their waste stream each year.

-University of Louisiana Lafayette Read the article

Industry Article

Panel Discussion

With solar energy on the rise around the world, solar waste will soon come after. This article is for anyone who is interested in the future of solar panel recycling.

-Melissa Ann Schmid, Resource Recycling. Read in full here

CLEAN Future Act leads possible string of bills linking recycling issues to climate efforts

Exploring the latest climate legislation that implies large changes for all areas of the recycling industry.

-Megan Quinn, WasteDive. Read about the legislation here
RECYC-L Topics of the Quarter

  • Rear-Load Cardboard Dumpsters with Lock Bars Seems like DIY options were the most popular options to avoid public contamination of cardboard dumpsters. Try welding on lock bars or using padlocks and chains to limit deposit openings to a "slot" for flat cardboard.

  • Dumpster sensors Any questions about dumpster sensors? Many people experienced in using and researching these systems are available on RECYC-L as a peer resources. Join today to see our conversations!

Learn how to join the RECYC-L listserv for free by clicking on this link.
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