New waste management plan aims to divert 50 percent of campus waste from landfills


Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan outlines a goal of diverting 50 percent of campus waste from landfills by 2020.

Cameron Cook, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern launched last week its first Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, a 60-page document that outlines strategies for a greener approach to waste management.

The plan, which was announced less than a month after the University won the Illinois Sustainability Award, outlines a goal of diverting 50 percent of campus waste from landfills by 2020. This is one of many objectives outlined in the Strategic Sustainability Plan, according to a Friday news release.

A 2017 waste audit of the University — a study of how much and what types of waste are being produced — found that 70 percent of waste going to landfills could be avoided, recycled or composted, according to the release.

A 30 percent increase in the capture of recoverable waste would raise the effective diversion rate to 50 percent, according to the plan. By expanding the compost and recycling programs and improving waste reduction education, NU’s diversion rate could eventually be raised to 67 percent.

“By learning specifically what is in our waste stream, we now have the information needed to improve education, inform waste reduction and reuse efforts and expand recycling opportunities,” Julie Cahillane, Northwestern’s sustainability associate director, said in the release.

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