Recycling Behind the Scenes at WUSM

The Sustainability Champions are a group of Washington University School of Medicine custodians dedicated to sustainability. They ensure that your recycling makes the journey from your desk or lab to the dumpster for transport. Our custodians are committed to keeping our campus clean and safe. We would like to give a special thank you to […]

Custodial Reduces Plastic Throughout WUSM Operations

Reducing plastic use is a critical step to decreasing both waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The custodial department at the WashU School of Medicine has taken this idea and ran with it by reducing their dependency on plastic throughout their daily operations. What started as an initiative to find plastic liners that actually fit the […]

STL Agencies Accepting Donations

Prior to students moving out of their St. Louis housing as the academic year came to an unusual close, we surveyed local non-profit agencies to see who was accepting donations and to learn more about what they needed. As a result of the health and economic burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic, these agencies are […]

Housekeeper Naila Smajic’s Unique Approach to Recycling Education

Have you ever seen a contaminated recycling bin and felt a twinge in your heart? Perhaps given it a sad look, sighed, and moved on? It is a common reaction, but one that Naila Smajic transcended. A staff member on the Housekeeping team on the South 40, Smajic encounters a lot of misrouted waste, yet […]

Holiday Lights Recycling Drive

Wondering what to do with your old or unworkable holiday lights? You can recycle them! The annual Holiday Lights Recycling Drive returns to Washington University this winter. The drive runs December 6, 2021 through January 31, 2022. A holiday tradition, the WashU community brings in hundreds of pounds of holiday lights to responsibly recycle – […]

Composting Launches in the DUC

With the start of classes this August, WashU Dining Services quietly rolled out a simple and straight-forward response to a long- requested service by dining customers – students, staff and faculty alike. On either side of the dish return window, the waste storing holes which previously offered recycling and landfill now have two holes each […]

New Exchange Platform Avoids Waste

With frequent office moves, remodeling, and other changes in the fast-paced university setting, high-quality furniture, equipment and supplies can become a burden rather than an asset. In an effort to address this opportunity and better utilize these items, Washington University has signed up for Rheaply, an exciting new software platform that facilitates the internal recirculation […]

WUSM Gym Floor Gets Repurposed!

A recent heavy rainstorm in St. Louis caused a storm drain backup and minor flooding in the gymnasium in the basement of Olin Residence Hall at the School of Medicine. The WUSM facilities team was able to solve the drainage problem to prevent flooding in future rain events, but the gym floor was not able […]

A Compost Journey From Research Kitchen to Farm

“To the chickens!” is now a common phrase used in the Clinical Translational Research Unit (CTRU) Metabolic Research Kitchen. This refers to the food scraps produced by the kitchen operations that are thrown into bright green 5-gallon buckets and saved for the chickens at Howie Farms, one of the vendors from the School of Medicine […]

Volunteer to Green End-of-Year Iconic Events!

Help educate the WashU community about how to correctly sort waste while ensuring that iconic events are truly zero waste. Commencement May 17, 11a – 1p; 4p-6p // Locations vary. Contact Cassie with availability: cassandra.hage@wustl.edu. Staff Day May 20, 10a – 1p and 3 – 4:30p // Athletic Center Contact Cassie at cassandra.hage@wustl.edu to sign up. […]

New Green Event Certification Program Launched

This fall, the Office of Sustainability is launching a green event certification program that provides a framework for best practices, easy access to resources, and recognition for exemplary events and event planners. With hundreds of events planned by professional and non-professional event planners across the university, there is a high potential to reduce, recycle and […]

Changes in the Recycling Industry Raise the Bar for Waste Sorting on Campus

[Pile of plastics in China – Photo Credit: Fred Dufour/Agence France-Presse] In 2010, WashU made the transition to single-stream recycling on all campuses, making it easy and convenient for the university community to recycle. At the time, this change helped the university to nearly double consumer waste diversion. Today, about 42% of the waste generated by […]

Recycling Genius Lunch & Learns Summer Series

This summer the Office of Sustainability will be hosting a series of Recycling Genius Lunch & Learns. The Recycling Genius training consists of a brief, yet in-depth, training on what can be recycled and composted and why. Once you are trained as a Recycling Genius, you can provide presentations to groups (like your office) or […]

Green Event Best Practices Showcased at 2018 Commencement

Since 2014, Washington University in St. Louis has pursued zero waste receptions throughout the Commencement celebration. Typically, receptions achieve 98% waste diversion through recycling and composting. Some of our standard practices include: 100% recyclable or compostable serviceware at each commencement reception. Waste collection stations with trained volunteers and staff to help attendees correctly sort waste […]

Share Our Stuff: An Initiative to Minimize Waste

As the semester ends, students pack up their St. Louis homes and transition to summer experiences. With only so much space in the car or storage unit, a portion of belongings become available for new uses and new owners. Thanks to the Share Our Stuff Initiative, a tremendous amount of usable goods are diverted from the landfill, […]

Composting in the Dorms Pilot A Success

This article was written by Mackenzie Hines-Wilson, Communication Associate at the Office of Sustainability and resident of Dardick where the composting pilot took place. According to the EPA, about 38 million tons of food is wasted every year, of which only 5% is composted. The WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) Waste Team, a peer-to-peer education program […]

SWAP Brings PLAN to Campus

The  following article  has been contributed by SWAP (Sharing With A Purpose), the only nonprofit student business at Washington University. Claire Irawan, Sustainability Coordinator for SWAP and freshman at WashU, tells us about PLAN and its involvement with WashU’s Earth Week. WashU’s nonprofit Sharing With A Purpose (SWAP) is proud to bring the Points of […]

Student Sustainability Board to Fund Green Initiatives

Last month, the Student Sustainability Board (SSB) allocated $2,200 to support a project that aims to introduce composting in on-campus residential areas. Thanks to the funding allocation, the WashU Green Ambassadors’ waste team will be able to implement a pilot phase of their project in Dardick Hall, one of the Residential Colleges of the South 40 […]

Offer Reusable to Cut Down on Disposable

When she joined Washington University in late October of 2016, Michelle Gelven quickly noticed the large boxes of plastic cutlery available in the Alumni & Development’s common kitchen. While many of her colleagues bring prepared meals in a reusable container, avoiding the use of a disposable box, most of them were still using single-use cutlery […]

RecycleMania 2018

For the past few years, WashU has participated in an annual recycling competition with over two hundred colleges and universities across the US and Canada. This year’s eight-week competition kicked off last Sunday, February 4th, and will continue through March 31st. With each participating college reporting detailed waste reduction and diversion statistics, each week poses […]

Green Ambassador Program Recruits Directors

The WUGA program (Washington University Green Ambassadors) is currently seeking applicants for two student director positions. The WUGA program is a student-led, peer-education program supported by the Office of Sustainability that orients new students to sustainable living practices at  WashU. WUGAs play a critical role in training first year student to adopt behaviors that align […]

WUpcycle: A Second Life for WashU’s Damaged Textiles

The Office of Sustainability is happy to feature an article by SWAP (Sharing With A Purpose), the only nonprofit student business at Washington University. Eva Blumenfeld, Director of Marketing tell us about WUpcycle, a new program aiming at recovering “unwearable” clothes and turning them into unique and creative pieces of fashion.   Upcycle: Transform Waste […]

SWAP, Donate your Stuff and Get Involved!

The Office of Sustainability is happy to feature an article about SWAP (Sharing With A Purpose), the only nonprofit student business at Washington University. Sylvie Skene, Director of Education and Eva Blumenfeld, Director of Marketing tell us the story of SWAP, its purpose and operations. Learn about the different ways you can get involved with […]

Get Caught Green Handed!

WashU’s annual energy reduction and sustainability competition is back! Green Cup is a four-week competition to reduce energy use among South 40 Residential Colleges, North Side housing, fraternities, and the School of Medicine’s Olin Dorm and Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (in four separate leagues). Students compete to reduce their energy usage below a baseline. […]

Help Reduce Food Waste and Hunger

The holiday season is in full swing! As you catch up with family and friends over meals, we encourage mindfulness about food waste. From uneaten leftovers to blemished produce, far too much edible food goes to waste; in fact, in the United States, food waste is estimated at between 25-40 percent of the food supply. Food waste is a […]