As one of the largest departments on the UW Campus, Residence Life & Dining Services works to support the University's sustainability initiatives. This page contains a list of many of our sustainability-related efforts. To find out more about campus-wide efforts, visit the Campus Sustainability Website.
We employ a Graduate Assistant for Sustainability who works with various clubs and organizations across campus on sustainability issues and helps plan initiatives, such as those during Earth Week in the spring. Educational efforts throughout the year work to raise awareness and promote sustainability.
RLDS Sustainability In the News:
- Dining Services works with ACRES on Composting
- ResLife & Dining Services Begins Semester with Sustainability Efforts
- Residence Halls Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling & Waste Reduction
- Recycling is gathered from residence hall floors each week by RHA and the Hall Senates, after which it is collected and measured by UW Recycling. Recycling data is published weekly to produce positive feedback to encourage further recycling. In 2010-2011, 15,297 lbs. (7.6 tons) of material (plastic, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard) were collected and sorted by RHA Senate members and student volunteers. This comes to roughly 9 lbs. of recycled materials per student.
- New recycling bins purchased for each residence hall floor add convenience and promote residence hall recycling efforts
- Cardboard is collected at move-in every year. The effort recognizes that the residents moving into the halls each August generate a tremendous amount of cardboard waste, most of which can be easily recycled. The goal of the program is to keep as much of this cardboard out of the landfill as possible. In total, 8,756 pounds, or almost 4.4 tons of cardboard were collected and recycled at move-in 2010.
- The University of Wyoming Residence Halls Association (RHA) collected 127 pounds of donated clothing from students during a recent national clothing drive. During the SustainU oneSHIRT national collegiate clothing drive, student volunteers from universities and colleges throughout the United States collected bags of clothing from on-campus residents and students in their communities. Collected items were donated to Goodwill Industries to benefit their back-to work programs. Any clothing that cannot be resold will be recycled by Goodwill.
- The White Hall waste audit was conducted on April 15, 2011 on the lawn between Washakie Dining Center and White Hall. The date was selected because of its close proximity to Earth Day. The goal of the program was to increase resident awareness as to how much waste is being generated in the halls and to calculate the percentage of that waste which was actually recyclable material. Seven volunteers sifted through one day’s trash in roughly an hour and a half. In total, 147 pounds of “trash” were collected, 36 pounds of which were materials that could have been recycled. Given the data, it appears that roughly 25% or 1/4 of the trash being thrown out in the halls was recyclable.
- Residents are encouraged to donate unwanted small appliances, clothing, food and other items during the “Don't Dump. Donate.” campaign at move-out each year. The goal of the program was to collect and organize items from residents as they move out of the halls. Those items were then donated to local Laramie area charities. Among the items collected were nonperishable food items, small appliances, clothing, and furniture. Collection bins were set out in the lobbies of all of the residence halls during the last week of school and items were collected and sorted daily by student volunteers. In total, 4,357 pounds were collected and donated at move-out 2011.
- Only toilet paper and paper towels made from 100% recycled material are used in the residence halls
- During "Do It In The Dark" campaign in the spring semester the residence halls participated in an electrical competition for two weeks during the month of April. The goal of the program was to raise resident awareness about the amount of electricity being consumed in the halls and ways in which residents might reduce their electrical usage.
- New windows included in recent Downey Hall renovations improve energy efficiency
- Separate energy metering on residence halls now enable energy auditing and feedback
Dining Services was an active participant in the UW Community Foods Forum. Video from the forum, including a presentation by Executive Director Eric Webb, are available here.
RecyclingSource Reduction & Donation
- Dining services sends approximately 100 gallons of compostable waste to ACRES farm every day from Washakie Dining Center, University Catering, and the Wyoming Union Food Court.
- All fryer oil is donated to a company that makes biodiesel and in 2015 UWYO enginerring students used fryer oil from Washakie as part of a senior project to produce biodiesel.
- All diners at Washakie Dining Center are provided with insulated cups to promote the use of reusable, rather than disposable containers.
- Diners are encouraged to decrease personal food waste by going trayless in our dining hall.
- Washakie has decreased portion sizes to help reduce food waste. In an all you care to eat facility you are allowed as many servings as you like so decreasing portions sizes helps diners to better customise their meals according to thier appetites.
- The Washakie Word, a printed menu and newsletter, was converted to a digital format, check YourNutrition for the daily menu or review what's being served on digital sigange outside of Washakie.
- Wherever possible, dining locations use disposables that are both made from recycled material and compostable, this includes all of the packaging for sandwiches, wraps, salads and sushi sold on campus.
- Lighting in Washakie Dining Center is being upgraded to LED as they need replacement, approximately 25% of the ligthing has already been converted.
- In 2015 Dining Services entered into a partnership with the Laramie Soup Kitchen to donate “past sell by dated” items daily from all of Retail Dining Services and any surplus perishable items from Residential Dining Services during winter and summer break.
- Forecasting, recipe yields, portions served, leftovers and popularity index for residential dining selections are all tracked in our foodservice software, which then provides us metrics for more accurate future forecasting and decreases overporduction.
- Dining Services uses green cleaning products for every application where there is a certified green product on the market including: Geo Fusion 9000 Machine Detergent, Geo Fusion Silver Fusion Presoak, Geo Mag Fusion (Pot and Pan detergent), Geo Crystal Fusion Rinse Additive.
- Cardboard boxes from all diing services are recycled.
Locally Sourced Foods
- Our milk comes from a co-op that serves dairies in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.
- Washakie Dining center has partnered with University of Wyoming's meat science department to serve local pork and beef at specialty dinners.
- We serve organically grown, fair trade coffee at Washakie Dining Center, University Catering, Elements, Book & Bean, Rendezvous and Encore Cafe.