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Be part of the solution, not the pollution

COVID-19 has required everyone to reimagine many aspects of life – including how we manage waste.

Recyling locationOver the last year, Creighton custodial staff have worked tirelessly to protect the campus community by increasing how often campus is cleaned and disinfected. To protect custodial staff and ease their workloads, single-stream recycling collection was temporarily suspended across campus. The Office of Sustainability Programs and Facilities Management is happy to announce that single-stream recycling collection will return to all residence halls. Recycling collection will continue to be suspended from all other campus buildings to help reduce our custodial staff’s workloads.

On Nov. 30, 2020 Creighton, in partnership with the City of Omaha and FCC Environmental, opened a community recycling location on campus at 17th and Burt Streets, inside the fenced area outside of the Jelinek Building on the intersection’s southwest corner. The site is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Omaha community members are invited to dispose of their recyclable waste, including glass, at this site for free. During this time, the Office of Sustainability Programs asks that all campus users assist custodial staff by diverting their waste from non-residential buildings. Please drop off all of your recyclable waste at the 17th and Burt recycling center on your way home from campus.

In addition, the pandemic has impacted waste systems beyond recycling, most notably in Creighton dining halls. For the first few months of the fall semester, all campus meals were served to-go. This was a necessary adaptation to keep Creighton students, faculty and staff safe. However, more to-go meals meant more food-related waste, primarily from disposable containers and packaging. The Creighton Students Union, Housing and Auxiliary Services, and the Office of Sustainability Programs worked together to counteract increased dining hall waste by launching a post-consumer composting pilot.

The semester-long, student-driven composting pilot diverted approximately 17,000 pounds of waste from area landfills. Composting organic waste prevents landfill methane production – methane is a greenhouse gas 32% more potent than carbon dioxide. At current capacity, the composting pilot will reduce Creighton's carbon footprint by 85,524 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, which is similar to removing 37 cars from the road. Due to the composting pilot's success, the Office of Sustainability Programs and Housing and Auxiliary Services is expanding the composting pilot to include all residence halls west of 24th Street.

Caring for our common home is core to the Jesuit, Catholic mission of Creighton University. Waste diversion is just one piece of the mission, but it is a piece that requires individual action. For more information about diverting recyclables from the landfill including strategies for reducing the amount of waste you produce, visit the Sustainable Creighton website.

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