June 29, 2017

Purdue wins RecycleMania award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University was recently named the winner of the Waste Minimization category for the 2017 RecycleMania Case Study Competition. RecycleMania is a friendly competition between college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction on campus communities across the globe.

The university received this award in recognition of its targeted approach to reduce cardboard, paper and plastic that is associated with the use of disposable plates. A new dining facility at Purdue, “Pete’s Za,” was filling up trash cans across campus with large pizza boxes and causing students to purchase disposable plates to eat their pizza off of. To minimize this issue, Purdue did some searching and discovered a company called “Greenbox” that produces completely biodegradable pizza boxes made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. The box is designed to be torn into four plates for use and still closes at half the original size to maintain leftovers.

Making the transition to this new box has significantly reduced the amount of waste on campus and contributes to the increasing market demand for recycled materials. In only one semester, the new box saved the university’s Dining and Catering department $1,228 on purchasing pizza boxes, using 13,650 boxes.

Additionally, the initiative has generated a great deal of student attention on campus. Students have reported that they prefer Greenbox to traditional pizza boxes. They are happy to have a product that is able to serve as both a plate and storage container while helping reduce the amount of waste being produced.

“Our ‘Pete’s Za’ program at Meredith Hall has made a positive impact on the university in terms of waste production and saving money; the commitment to recycling is always an ongoing process for Purdue’s Dining and Catering department,” said Greg Minner, director of dining services. “Our staff and student advisory groups are constantly looking for sustainable processes that make sense and contribute to a zero-waste environment.”

 In recognition of this award, the university received a certificate made out of recyclable materials and is now home to the Waste Minimization category’s traveling trophy for the year. 

Writer: Torrie Ward, ward121@purdue.edu 

Source: Greg Minner, 765-496-1504, gminner@purdue.edu 

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