FAQ's Related to Waste, Composting & Recycling

 

 

  • Does UNH recycle? Who handles recycling at UNH?

The Sustainability Institute does not handle recycling at UNH. Recycling is handled under contract to Waste Management, and this contract is overseen by UNH Facilities. This contract provides for the collection of paperboard, mixed paper, and glass, metal and plastic containers. UNH has both indoor and outdoor recycling containers all over campus. In 2006, UNH recycled more than 130 tons of commingled waste, according to the 2006 Annual Report for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. In January 2007, UNH began a pilot project to install outdoor recycling containers adjacent to trash receptacles for mixed glass, plastic, and aluminum containers. Fourteen containers were installed as Phase 1 with more to be installed as part of the Main Street project in summer 2007.

For more information about recycling at UNH, contact UNH Facilities at (603) 862-1437.

  • I often see recyclables in trash bins or trash in recycling bins. What can I do?

The UNH recycling program is continually growing and expanding. UNH has both indoor and outdoor recycling bins and signs in every building and all over campus, and more are added as feasible. UNH Facilities, who manage UNH's recycling program, supplies recycling bins and recycling signs in every building on campus, and they have given information to all RA's on campus to help them educate others about recycling. But in order to continue to improve UNH's recycling program, we all have to pitch in and do our part - not only the great Facilities and Housekeeping staff who direct and oversee the day-to-day management of the program, but all of us - students, faculty, and staff - to use the recycling bins properly, pitch in and help empty our personal office and dorms bins as needed into larger building totters, and educate others about the importance of recycling. If you see someone throwing away recyclables, putting trash in recycling bins, or leaving trash on grounds and building floors, please speak up. Nothing beats the power of setting a good example yourself and of educating your peers.

  • Does the Sustainability Institute at UNH handle waste management on campus?

No. Waste management on campus is handled by a variety of other offices, including UNH Facilities, the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), UNH IT's Safe Eletronic Equipment Disposal, and individual offices and departments. 

  • Does the Sustainability Institute at UNH handle composting on campus?

The Sustainability Institute managed the compost intern team that picked up waste for composting from the program's inception in 1997 until the summer of 2006, when UNH Dining Services took over this "front end" of the composting program. The UNH College of Life Sciences & Agriculture (COLSA) and Kingman Farm manage the "back end" of composting - the windrows and final compost product that is used by the UNH Organic Garden Club for growing food.

  • May I compost my (home's, businesses's, school's, etc.) organic waste at UNH?

The UNH Compost Program is not accepting new pickup locations for pre-consumer or post-consumer waste at this time. Instead, we encourage homes, businesses, and schools to set up their own system on site. Think about starting small with pre-consumer waste, composting it onsite, and seeing how that goes. You should also recruit other family members and friends, neighbors, students, teachers, and employees to help you out. (See below for good advice on how to start.)

  • I want to compost at home (or at my business, school, etc.). How do I get started?

There are more resources than ever before for starting your own compost system. A couple of good places to start are the Compost Guide and How to Compost.org. There are many different kinds of systems and set ups -- including vermicomposting (composting with worms!) -- that make it easier and easier to compost your organic waste simply and sustainably.

  • How should I dispose of my old computer, cell phone, and other electronics properly?

FOR UNH EMPLOYEES:

The Safe Electronic Equipment Disposal (SEED) through UNH IT program provides for the disposal of university equipment containing data storage, including computers and mobile devices, as well as equipment containing circuit boards such as monitors, printers, peripherals, scientific equipment and audio-visual equipment.

Please see this very handy chart to determine how your equipment needs to be disposed of! 

UNH Guidelines for the Purchase and Disposal of Personal Computers

For off-campus recycling and proper disposal of electronics like cell phones, CD's, and computers, visit Earth 911,  Wireless Fundraiser, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency eCycling Program, or the CD Recycling Center. These sites can help you locate donation or recycling programs in your area. You can also find more information from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

  • What should I do with my empty printer ink cartridges?

First, we recommend checking with UNH Printing Services,  If through this "Refill, Don't Landfill" program you can't refill your particular cartridge, you could check with the UNH Computer Store, with the cartridge manufacturer itself (like HP, for example), or with an office supply store like Staples or OfficeMax, many of which have recycling programs and even in-store drop-off locations for used cartridges. UNH Facilities will also pick-up used ink cartidges, and take them to Reliable Technologies to be recycled. For more information contact UNH Facilities at (603) 862-1437.

  • How do I dispose of my used batteries properly?

Learn all about batteries!

The following kinds CAN go into the normal trash:

  1. Alkaline batteries: Since passage of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996, use of mercury in batteries was phased out in the U.S. Alkaline batteries batteries sold after May 13, 1996 have no mercury added and may be placed in the regular trash. These may be identified by seeing a green stripe, green tree, "Hg free" label, or an expiration date later than 1998. Older batteries may contain mercury; if you are a UNH employee using such batteries at work, contact the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety to have them disposed of properly. At home, you should take them to a collection location, recycling facility or save them for a municipal household hazardous waste collection
  2. Zinc carbon and zinc chloride batteries are non-hazardous and can be placed in the trash.

The battery types below CANNOT go into the trash and must be disposed of properly:

  1. Lithium batteries: Lithium batteries are considered a hazardous waste and are potentially reactive if not completely discharged. If you are a UNH employee using such batteries at work, contact the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety to have them disposed of properly. At home, you should take them to a collection location, recycling facility or save them for a municipal household hazardous waste collection.
  2. Button cell batteries: Button cell batteries may contain mercury or other hazardous substances, such as silver. If you are a UNH employee using such batteries at work, contact the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety to have them disposed of properly. At home, you should take them to a collection location, recycling facility or save them for a municipal household hazardous waste collection.

The Sustainability Institute does not handle battery disposal at UNH. The UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) handles UNH policies, regulations, and management of any waste that could be hazardous. If you have any questions about battery disposal, contact Marty McCrone at 862-3526 or Pam Campbell 862-0683.

  • How can I recycle or dispose of properly my used compact fluorescent lightbulbs?

If you live in the Town of Durham, you should contact the town as it has its own CFL recycling and disposal program. UNH manages its own, separate program for lamps generated on campus. UNH faculty, staff, and on-campus student residents should contact the UNH Office of Environmental Health and Safety, which manages campus disposal of hazardous, radioactive, biological, and other regulated wastes. In particular, contact Marty McCrone (862-3526) or Jeff Anderson (862-0683).

I don't want to buy water bottles as fossil fuels are burned to make and transport them. What can I use instead?

We recommend that you try and avoid using water bottles when you can as they do take a lot of fossil fuels to make and transport - fuels that when burned release greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Instead, consider buying a reusable water bottle - a Nalgene bottle or stainless bottle like a Sigg or a Kleen Kanteen - and fill these at the various water bubblers in buildings on campus or from your tap. These bottles are simple to clean and easy to carry around.

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