United States
                              Environmental Protection
                            Solid Waste and
                            Emergency Response
           October 1999
University of Michigan   ^_>
Ann  Arbor,  Michigan      fj 30
30% Waste Reduction Rate from Residence Halls
                                 Michigan law mandates a 30% waste reduction for "major waste
                                 generators," including the University of Michigan. An enthusiastic
                                 and involved student body, a program design that is flexible and
                                 accommodates the needs of the collection staff and changes in
                                 collected materials, and a very visible outreach program all
                                 contribute to the success of the University of Michigan's student housing
                                 recycling program, which diverts 30% of the residence hall waste.
                               Program Description
I                                 he University of Michigan (U-M) is one of the
                                 largest academic campuses in the country,
                                  with over 36,000 students. Approximately
                                    10,000 students live in dormitories.
                                        Students bring recyclables to
                                        trash/recycling closets on their floor.
                                        Each closet contains a shelf for
                                       corrugated cardboard and separate
                                       containers for mixed paper and
                                      mixed containers. Housing Facilities
                                      staff collect trash and recyclables on
                                      each floor of the 15 student residence
                                     halls on campus.
                                        Housing Facilities staff bring the
                                     material from recycling closets to
                                    containers on the loading dock.  They
                                    collect from the loading dock once a
                                   week and bring  materials  to the nearby
                                   city-owned material recovery facility
                                   (MRF). Grounds Department staff collect
                                   yard trimmings and bring them to the
                                   city-owned compost facility.
                                      On residence hall move-in days,
                                    students discard large quantities of
                                     cardboard boxes. U-M instituted
                                     special collections for this cardboard,
                                      and in 1997 students recycled 52 tons
                                      of material during move-in days.
                                          When students vacate their
                                         dorms for the summer or at
                                        graduation they often discard loft
                                          wood, toiletries, furniture, carpets, food,
                                          clothing, and other items that they cannot store
                                          or transport. Thus, these items often ended up
                                          in the trash. Now the University collects and
                                          donates these materials to charitable
                                          organizations, except for loft wood and carpet,
                                          which are stored on campus grounds. Ann
                                          Arbor residents are encouraged to take these
                                              Other campus recycling efforts include:
                                          collection of pallets, scrap wood, and metals; a
                                          worm bin composting project; a food discard
                                          composting trial; and recycling at the football
                                          stadium. In addition, a Recycling Task Force
                                          works with the U-M Purchasing Department to
                                          utilize and sell more recycled-content products.

                                          Outreach Activities

ne of the keys to program success is U-M's
active outreach efforts, which include:
                                            Materials Collected
                                            Mixed paper (including virtually all types
                                               of paper: high grade, glossy stock,
                                            Corrugated cardboard
                                            #1 and #2 plastics
                                            Juice boxes
                                            Scrap metal

                                     This profile is part of the fact sheet Complex Recycling Issues: Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction in Multi-
                                     Family Dwellings (EPA-530-F-99-022).

student town meetings, training
sessions with staff, a recycling
newsletter, an email address to answer
questions (recycle.help@umich.edu), an
extensive Web page, and the
Ecolympics, a competition between
residence halls that rewards
conservation efforts. Residence hall
outreach includes displays at new
student orientations and table tents in
dining halls, presentations upon
request, and signs in residence hall
trash/recycling closets.
    Turnover of the student population
is an obstacle to even higher recycling
rates. New education efforts are
needed every year.
     nen U-M's recycling program began
    f in 1989, its actual total cost for
disposal from the residence halls was
$239,200 per year. The University spent
$200,000 in 1989 to modify buildings to
create recycling closets and to purchase
containers. In 1997 its total cost for
residence hall disposal and recycling was
$245,900 (including move-out day costs
of approximately $11,000 per year and
equipment pay back). Adjusting 1989
figures to 1997 dollars, the University's
total solid waste management costs for
residence halls decreased approximately
$53,800 per year. This is explained in
part by improved collection systems and
in part by avoided disposal costs
through recycling.
    In spring 1998, markets for
commingled containers were poor, so
the University paid a higher tip fee at the
MRF for these materials than trash.
Tipping fees at the MRF were $2.64 per
ton for paper (newspaper, old corrugated
cardboard, mixed paper), $18.92 per ton
for commingled containers, and $17.11
per ton for trash. Although the tip fee for
containers was higher than trash, the tip
fee for mixed paper was $15 per ton less
than trash disposal. Overall, recycling
costs averaged $35 per ton while trash
costs average $48  per ton.
Tips for Replication

   Pay attention to the needs of your
collection staff; they are the most
important element in a successful
recycling system.  Be open to letting
workers create systems that work for
them. Listen...listen...listen!
   Pay attention to the ergonomics of
handling. Do not be afraid to go into
debt to capitalize equipment that
improves efficiency and safety.
   Keep good records of material flow.
Keep track of costs.
   Develop  good relationships with
processors of your recyclables.

                                         Kristin Miller
                                         General Information
                                         Grounds and Waste Management
                                         University of Michigan
                                         1110 East Huron Street
                                         Ann Arbor, Ml 48104
                                         (734) 763-5539 fax (734) 764-9390
Program Summary, FY97

Start Date
Buildings in Program
Type of Multi-Family Buildings
Households Served
Residents served

Total Waste Generated (Tons)
Total Diverted (%)
Fees per Year
Net Costs per HH per Year
Disposal services
Diversion services
Net Costs per Ton
Disposal services
Diversion services

September 1989
2- to 8-story residence halls
(Before program)

(With program)
for Local Self-Relial

  FY = fiscal year        HH = household
  Note: Numbers may not add to total due to rounding.
  *FY89 costs have been normalized to FY97 using the gross domestic product deflator.