KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University has been awarded the 2013 College/University Partner of the Year Award by the Environmental Protection Agency for outstanding waste reduction achievements as a WasteWise partner.
WasteWise, the country's first national voluntary solid waste reduction program, helps organizations and businesses apply sustainable materials management practices to conserve resources and reduce wastes. The award is calculated on data reported for calendar year 2012. During the reporting period, WMU demonstrated an overall improvement rate of 87 percent in total waste diverted by either waste prevention, recycling, composting or donation programs.
About WMU's program
The WMU solid waste reduction program has expanded over the years from simply recycling paper, cardboard and bottles and cans. WMU now focuses on waste reduction and prevention. Much of the improvement was due to significant reuse of construction materials, providing dining service kitchen waste to a local hog farmer for feed and from innovative preventive measures such the EcoMug program. Carolyn Noack, manager of solid waste reduction, was thrilled to receive the award. Noack stated, "It shows that waste reduction can be achieved with campus-wide support. It can’t be done by one person or one department."