By Allison Nitch | Aug 25, 2015

The Odegaard Undergraduate Library recently revamped its restroom and public area waste diversion practices in order to help support sustainability on campus.

In an effort to reduce paper consumption within Odegaard, a total of 23 paper towel containers were removed from all restrooms. Thirty hand dryer units have been installed this year, and seven were installed in By George Café restrooms in 2014. The transition to dryers has also helped to eliminate costs associated with keeping restrooms stocked. In 2014 a total of $8,388 was spent on paper towels and $1,152 went towards the purchase of high density bin liners.

In July 2015 all composting, recycling and landfill bins were replaced with redesigned sorting bin stations through the collective efforts of team members from UW Recycling, UW Custodial Services and UW Moving Services. Each station is upcycled from approximately 1,485 reclaimed milk jugs and includes headboards with simplified educational signs to make sorting quick and easy. The investment of new bins goes beyond general design aesthetics. It also solves the issues of bin overflow, which can happen quickly in a building that welcomes 10,000 patrons on a daily basis. Since the previous bins were easily picked up and relocated throughout the library, the library custodians were often tasked with servicing the old bins multiple times a day.

Each floor of the library now features sorting stations that are securely installed next to center columns in order to help library patrons consistently find and dispose of their recycling, compost and trash. The recycling and compost portions are intentionally larger than the landfill bin; this feature highlights the fact that so much of what is considered waste does indeed have a higher use.

Photos courtesy of Alicia Halberg, Facilities Services