Emory earns 2019 Outstanding Institutional Recycling Program award

Emory Report | Oct. 8, 2019

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Emory was recognized with the 2019 Outstanding Institutional Recycling Program award during the Georgia Recycling Coalition’s annual conference. Shown with the award are (l-r) Taylor Spicer of Emory’s Office of Sustainability, Deena Keeler of Emory Recycles and David Horne of Emory Recycles.

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Emory University’s efforts surrounding recycling and sustainability continue to earn notice. The latest recognition is from the Georgia Recycling Coalition (GRC), which gave Emory its Spirit of Green Award for 2019 Outstanding Institutional Recycling Program.

This award is given to Georgia colleges, universities, military installations or other institutional campus or industrial entities at the GRC’s annual conference.

Emory was recognized by the GRC in several areas:

  • Zero landfill diversion goal
  • On-campus material recovery center
  • Expansive composting program
  • University waste policy
  • Materials management master plan
  • Standardized equipment for landfill diversion
  • Stations for materials that are hard to recycle
  • Recycling center community drop-off site

Emory is known for its ambitious sustainability goals, including a commitment to divert 95 percent of campus waste from municipal landfills by 2025. This goal is becoming a reality through Emory’s standardization of color-coded waste sorting stations across campus, adapting outdoor bins to offer only compost and recycling options and establishing central collection stations for hard-to-recycle items. 

The impact of these efforts, which were initiated in January 2018, can be seen across Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses. In the first year of the program, more than 70 percent of Emory University’s total waste was diverted from landfills, up from a previously reported 59 percent in 2017. 

“Students, staff and faculty across Emory are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their actions and collectively moving Emory to a post-landfill future,” says Cianatt M. Howett, director of the university’s sustainability initiatives. 

Each year, the GRC grants Spirit of Green Awards to various institutions in recognition of excellence in recycling and waste reduction. The GRC’s 2019 Annual Meeting focused on “Increased Participation and Decreased Contamination;” these core components are regularly discussed by Emory’s Waste Think Tank, a longstanding advisory group that meets bi-monthly to provide Emory stakeholders with a platform to collaborate on best practices to move sustainably toward a zero landfill future.