This past November, members of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Sustainability Committee launched the university’s first Sustainability Master Plan.
The plan, which was facilitated by the Verdis Group and led by representatives from across campus as well as the Omaha community, identifies new policies and practices that can be implemented by UNO that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, financially feasible and will benefit the campus now and into the future.
To share this plan, members of the Sustainability Committee are holding a series of seven weekly brown bag sessions that highlight each of the areas in which UNO is committed to sustainability.
Campus and community members are invited to come and provide input to help make our future more sustainable. This strategic focus area affects everyone.
The fourth session will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 18, in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, in the OPPD Dialogue Rooms, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will focus on the topic of Materials, Waste and Recycling. In particular, anyone with responsibility for ordering materials and supplies is encouraged to come provide input on implementation of the identified strategies.
As one of the most popular aspects of sustainable living, recycling and earth-friendly waste management, UNO is committed to making sure the environment is not only kept clean on campus, but that any and all materials with the potential to be reused in the future are kept from ending up in landfills.
This brown bag session will provide faculty, staff and students with an explanation of what UNO’ plans are to improve the campus recycling programs as well as encouraging alternatives to disposable products such as plastic water bottles.
Where We’ve Been
- In recent years, UNO has replaced large wastebaskets with recycling bins featuring smaller garbage “saddles” as a way to encourage recycling products used in the classroom and in offices across campus.
- Since 2008, UNO has increased the visibility of recycling locations on campus as well as the types of products that can and should be recycled.
- Water refill stations to encourage the use of reusable water bottles compared to disposable plastic water bottles.
Where We’re Going
- The ultimate goal of the UNO Sustainability Committee is to have Net Zero Waste by 2050.
- An intermediate goal compared to our current baseline is to divert an additional 61 percent of waste from area landfills, reduce the overall amount of waste produced by 25 percent and increase the number of purchases that are considered to be ‘green’ to 50 percent –by the year 2025.
- A focus on environmentally preferable purchasing for office supplies that focus on longer life cycles and utilizing recycled materials.
- A push to reduce the amount of printing that occurs on campus through increased use of online document access and double-sided printing where appropriate.
- A focus on recycling old technology across campus as well as construction debris for new renovations and building projects.
- There has been a desire across campus to provide healthier and sustainable food options, which can be achieved through initiatives such as tray-less dining, reclaiming unused food to be donated to those in need, and composting unused food to help grow new food.
More ideas explored on this topic can be viewed in the Sustainability Master Plan, which is available online. The section devoted to Materials, Waste and Recycling covers pages 73 through 85.
- Feb. 25 – Campus Culture
- March 4 – Campus Planning and Mobilit
- March 13 – Academics and Research
- March 18 – Energy, Buildings and Emissions