Waste Management and Diversion
As a result of Georgia Tech’s participation in STARS data collection, several waste management streams have been developed. Efforts to minimize waste on campus include Game Day Recycling, Earth Day supply exchange, Tech Treasure, and the AWARE Program. The library also defaulted all printer settings to double sided printing to reduce paper waste.
Recycling is an essential component of sustainable operations at Georgia Tech. With services available in campus buildings, residence halls, outdoor spaces, and at special events, this is an area in which everyone is encouraged to make a contribution.
Major construction projects on campus follow the procedures for LEED certification.
There are also methods in place for hazardous and e-waste. Chematics is an inventory system that is used campus wide to share and shop for lab chemicals. Government regulations for disposal are followed and when ordering chemicals, the motto “less is best” is followed. A large e-waste collection takes place every year on Earth Day.
Our award-winning Game Day Recycling Program has achieved truly impressive results. It broke a previous record during the 2014 football season, diverting 25 tons of glass, aluminum, cardboard, plastic, and other recyclables away from landfills. That amounted to recycling 27 percent of the waste created during the team’s six home games.
Georgia Tech Dining Services sponsors a campus composting program. Unavoidable food waste is composted which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can also be used to amend soil thereby increasing drought tolerance, improving soil structure and health, and reducing need for water and fertilizers. Used cooking oils are also manufactured into biodiesel. In 2016, Georgia Tech Dining Services composted over 295,575 pounds of waste.
To further reduce the amount of solid food waste generated by our locations, a bio-digester was installed at the North Avenue restaurant. The GreenKey bio-digester naturally converts up to 700 pounds of food waste into water within 24 hours. The bio-digester uses a blend of natural bacteria and enzymes which break down the food waste into water quickly and efficiently.
Georgia Tech Waste Audit
The Office of Campus Sustainability and the Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling were awarded a Serve-Learn-Sustain Challenge Grant to perform an analysis of a building’s or campus’ waste stream. The project evaluated trash and recycling from two campus locations - East Campus Residence Halls and Clough Commons - where waste was sorted, identified, and tallied. The results from the audit are being used to design a more efficient waste disposal program, save costs, and increase the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. Learn more from the Waste Audit Report.