UNC Charlotte received this year’s Charlotte Chamber Wells Fargo Green Award for its efforts to increase recycling on campus.
The changes came in 2010 and 2011 when the housekeeping and recycling departments moved and removed trash bins in classrooms and academic buildings.
Brian Guns, UNCC’s director of building environmental services and recycling, said he decided to take the garbage cans out of the classrooms and instead just use ones in the hallways next to the recycling receptacles.
And in academic buildings where faculty and staff have personal offices, the school provided employees with smaller trash bins attached to recycling bins.
“They’d have to be on-purpose trying to mess this up not to do it right,” Guns said.
Those two efforts have increased the recycling of bottles and cans in all academic buildings by 25 percent in the past two years and by 10 percent to 15 percent in office recycling in the past few months, according to a release from UNCC.
Guns said all UNC system schools are supposed to work toward having zero waste, and these two initiatives helped get the recycling department to a 40 percent diversion rate this year.
He said the department had to get creative with how to reduce waste when budget cuts meant losing six members of the housekeeping staff.
“Even during that process, we said, this is not to save money,” Guns said. “This is a better way of doing things, and I intend on keeping it around.”