Recycling at a higher education institution: Case study of a successful program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City
Published:May 01, 2016
Syed E. Hasan, Rhonda K. Johnston, 2016. "Recycling at a higher education institution: Case study of a successful program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City", Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future, Gregory R. Wessel, Jeffrey K. Greenberg
Download citation file:
The University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) has been offering educational programs in waste management and environmental science for ~25 yr and has recently added a sustainability minor to its bachelor’s degree in environmental science and environmental studies. With collective input from students, faculty, administrators, and staff, the university has established a highly successful sustainability program geared toward attaining zero waste. Students enrolled in the Introduction to Waste Management class are required to work on a term project that involves performing a waste audit. For the past several years, students have been conducting waste audits at various buildings on the campus. The term project not only allows students to gain familiarity with the principles of waste audits, but it also provides valuable hands-on experience with the procedures used for conducting a waste audit, data collection, analyses, interpretation, and preparing a written report followed by an oral Power-Point presentation. These reports have played a key role in designing a successful recycling program at UMKC that led to its earning first place among 523 colleges and universities in the annual RecycleMania competition in 2013, as well as its inclusion in Sierra magazine’s listing of top 100 “green schools” in the country. This paper includes a profile of the university and a detailed discussion of the waste audit project, recycling program, and sustainability efforts, along with suggestions on how to implement successful recycling programs elsewhere.