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I've heard that recycling actually wastes energy is that true?

Aluminum, for example, requires 96 percent less energy to make from recycled cans than it does to process from bauxite. Recycled plastic bottles use 76 percent less energy and newsprint about 45 percent less.

Because there is no local demand for used glass, FirStar Fiber, the City of Omaha's recycling contractor, must ship glass from the drop-off sites in the city to St. Louis, MO (the closest demand for used glass). It is likely that doing so causes more harm than good, as glass is heavy and any energy saved in glass manufacturing is lost through this long transportation event.

How does my office get more recycling bins or signs?

To obtain additional recycling containers for your work area, contact Paula Slavin at 554.2385 or pslavin@unomaha.edu. You can also request posters detailing what can and cant be recycled.

What can be recycled on campus?

Trash is considered all food, liquids, styrofoam, tissues, paper towels, construction materials, plastic bags and glass. Trash should be discarded in the small black bins most offices already have.

Recycled materials are as follows: all types of paper products, including office paper, envelopes, copy paper, colored paper, newspaper, magazines, catalogs and phone books; all types of cardboards; water bottles and pop cans with their plastic lids; all types of plastic and metal containers. Recycled materials should be discarded in the small blue bins.

What are the 3 Rs?

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Reduce the amount of material you consume (and with it, the energy of manufacture and delivery) and of waste you generate.

Reuse Items as much as possible. Take a sack lunch with silverware instead of plastic utensils or give things you don't need or use to someone who can.

Recycle Whatever you cant reuse.

Why can’t I recycle my paper coffee cups?

Many paper cups are lined with plastic or wax. These liners prevent liquid from seeping through the paper. However, it also makes it unrecyclable.

Why can't I recycle pizza boxes?

Products contaminated by food cannot be recycled. A plastic bottle can be rinsed out, but grease cannot be removed from the cardboard. If there is no grease or foodstuffs on the top of the pizza box, that portion may be recycled.

How do I recycle my old electronics?

If the electronics belong to the university, then they can be dropped into the designated recycling bin or given to surplus property. To download a Surplus Property Form go to the Mail Services Site

To recycle your personal electronics, contact the manufacturer’s or find a recycling station. To find recycling locations near you, go to the NCER Site and type in your zipcode.

How do I recycle batteries?

To recycle batteries that were used for campus activities, contact your building administrator for the nearest bin. For batteries utilized for personal use, return them to the store you purchased them from or drop them off at a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility such as Under the Sink. Check out Underthesink.org for more information.

What about special batteries and cell phones?

Many companies, will collect, free of charge, all old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries for recycling, including Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) weighing less than 2 lbs/1 kg. These batteries are also commonly found in other portable office electronics products including cordless phones, laptop computers, PDAs, digital cameras, and portable printers. Visit Earth911 for a list of vendors near you.

Why can’t we recycle Styrofoam? Are there alternatives?

Styrofoam, or Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS) is a commonly used in the food services and shipping industries. As a non-biodegradable product, it takes up large amounts of space in our landfills and accounts for over 15% of the litter collected from storm drains. Even though some EPS products bear a recycling triangle, the market for it is small and dwindling. That, coupled with the fact that EPS cannot be recycled if it is contaminated by food, makes recycling it nearly impossible. Instead of trying to find an expensive way to recycle Styrofoam, it is much better to identify a suitable replacement. There are many products available, including new ones such as "plastic"derived from corn and other plant based sources. Below are some alternatives for your consideration:

Corn and Sugar Derivatives: Polylactic acid (PLA) is a "plastic" that is derived from corn and other plant-based materials such as corn, sugar, or potatoes. Bagasse is the fibrous residue left over after the sugar cane juice has been extracted from the plant. It is used in the manufacture of pulp, paper products and building materials.

Paper Products: These products do not contain as many harmful materials as Stryofoam and are more easily recycled.

Biodegradable Packaging: There are several companies that now offer completely natural and biodegradable packing peanuts and other packaging materials.

Reusable Containers: Reusable containers such as glass, ceramic and stoneware products are the safest and greenest alternative to Styrofoam. These products are reusable and won’t leach chemicals into your food.

Why aren't we recycling more?

UNO began a commingled recycling program in the fall of 2008. We are now able to recycle all items the City of Omaha includes in their curbside recycling program. Though our recycling participation is good, we must remind ourselves and our peers that it is not only resource wise to recycle, but it is cheaper than disposing solid waste. You can help foster culture change by recycling more and encouraging others to do likewise. For additional information about recycling at UNO, please visit the Recycling Page .

What is a carbon footprint and how can I measure mine?

A carbon footprint is an estimation of the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, event, organization or product. These emissions are typically expressed in CO2E.

Your carbon footprint can be measured by taking an emissions assessment . Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it.

How can I set up my computer to minimize its energy use?

The ITS Green Team has worked hard to minimize energy use by creating virtual servers across campus. They have also included downloadable "scripts" on the install server. If you are not able to download the scripts, it is recommended that you set your monitor to "sleep" in 5 minutes and your tower to "sleep" in 30. Note that screen savers do not save energy at all and by keeping machines powered up at night and on weekends, they are more susceptible to being "hacked."

If your system has the ability to "sleep" or "standby" when it's not in use, allow that function to operate

When you purchase a new system, consider buying a laptop or an energy-efficient desktop. If you're in the market for a display, buy an LCD display rather than a traditional CRT display

Tips are available also at here .

What is the GreenUNO Task Force on Sustainability? What do they do?

The purpose of the Vice Chancellor’s Task Force on Sustainability (Task Force) is to promote sustainability and sustainable development at UNO. Key to this purpose is the objective to assist the campus in using less energy and resources and to conserve energy and resources used. All of this must include a realistic consideration of possible financial savings as part of a cost-benefit analysis.

The Task Force is charged with advising the Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance on specific recommendations and actions pertaining to sustainability as they directly relate to UNO.

The mission of the Task Force shall be composed of three central goals: To identify sustainability opportunities and to develop a recommended action plan for each; to integrate sustainability with campus operations, education and outreach, wherever and whenever prudence dictates and to engage the campus in an ongoing dialogue about sustainability

Do we have a plan for bike trails on campus?

As plans are developed to integrate campus locations and to add additional buildings, the opportunity exists for inclusion of safe bike trails and secure bike racks. A bike trail is part of the south of Center development plan. Please contact Facilities Management and Planning at 554-2500 for more details.

Are there any plans for a mass transit between campuses?

As of this writing, discussions have been ongoing with Metro Area Transit (MAT) to establish a pick-up and drop-off site on each campus location. Some consideration has also been given to linking UNO with the Omaha Street Car proposal under consideration by the City of Omaha. Additional information will be made available as it is presented.

Why are lights always on in my building? Can they be turned off?

The lights found in common areas such as hallways should always remain lit when buildings are occupied. Unoccupied offices and classrooms should have their lights switched off any time its occupants will be out of the room for a minute or more.

Why is it so cold in my building in the morning?

During the summer months, cooling is maximized at night, when electricity is abundant. By sub-cooling buildings at night, the amount of electricity needed to provide adequate cooling during the heat of the day is minimized, thus reducing our on-campus demand during this critical time (and saving us considerable amounts of money, based on peak-demand use). In the winter months, buildings are allowed to cool somewhat at night, thus reducing our energy demands.

How do I know what I'm ordering is actually "green?"

Please visit our Green Purchasing Guidelines page for general assistance in green purchasing. Check out the green procurement topic hub on the p2ric web site for additional information about how to green the supply chain.

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