BYU recycles office paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans, as well as industrial scrap material, such as steel, insulated wire, concrete, and asphalt—about 1,400 tons of paper, plastic and metal per year. BYU also safely collects and recycles potential pollutants, including used oil and grease, batteries, refrigerants, computer components, fluorescent lights, and chemical waste. BYU's comprehensive and efficient recycling program saves the university tens of thousands of dollars in disposal costs and generates revenue from the sale of recycled commodities. Visit the BYU Physical Facilities for details.
RecycleMania is a national collegiate recycling competition held in February and March every year. BYU has participated since 2004, competing against our rival colleges to increase recycling and reduce waste. To encourage reducing waste and increasing recycling awareness, BYU hosts competitions between student housing and uses the data to compare our progress between state and national rivals.
In 2012, we participated by setting a world record of the largest cardboard box castle ever built, replacing Harvard University’s previous record of 564 boxes. Using 734 boxes collected from around campus, engineering students and members of EcoResponse designed a castle, complete with arches, turrets, and cannons. Although we’ve yet to break any more records, we continue to encourage our students to foster their talents, skills, and creativity to create a more sustainable campus and community.
BYU runs a closed-loop composting program where all grass, leaves and branches on campus are gathered, chipped, and composted to be used again as mulch in shrub and flower beds or as an organic component for our engineered soils. We also compost food waste from dining halls, wood from theatrical and television sets and scrap wood from construction projects. We compost approximately 2,000 tons of material each year.
As of March 2021, students can now drop off food waste at the east entrance of the BYU Greenhouse located at 100 East 820 North, just west and south of Kiwanis Park. Look for the green bins. Composting bags are available (no plastic bags, please).
What can I compost?
- Plant matter—no non-food items, please
- Food waste—no meat, dairy, or grease
- If a vegan can eat it, so can the bin!
BYU Dining Services offers reusable clamshell takeout boxes at the Cannon Commons. The G.E.T. Ecotakeout containers are used in place of disposable styrofoam containers and can be put in the dishwasher or microwave.
Serving BYU, the Missionary Training Center, the Church Educational System, and the public, employees of BYU Print and Mail take care to consider their environmental impact. They use biodegradable ink made from natural vegetable sources and alkaline paper made with a mixture of wood pulp from tree farms and recycled content; no rain forests or other forests are harvested to produce the paper that BYU purchases. Additionally, all harsh solutions have been eliminated from the printing process. To prevent waste, Print and Mail employees use “print on demand” digital technology. All remaining paper—trimmings, grindings, and any unused, unsold products—are recycled by BYU Recycling staff. The aluminum printing plates used on BYU’s presses are also recycled, a process that uses less energy than refining aluminum for new plates.
Materials and Products
BYU uses modular carpeting on campus that wastes 12% less carpet than the typical “roll”. This carpet is less toxic than alternative options, and maximizes reuse and recycling of process waste in order to reduce its landfill impact. Additionally, this product can be recycled at the end of its useful life. It can also be more effectively reused in the event damage occurs as single tiles can easily be replaced. Early in the design process, the design team identifies opportunities to incorporate salvaged materials into new facilities. The cleaning products used on campus are “Clean” by Peroxy, and Bio-Renewable Glass Cleaner. We use microfiber rags, dusters, and window washing equipment, as well as Hepa, certified vacuums. Touchless soap and paper towel dispensers are installed in the Marriott Center and Lavell Edwards Stadium.