2010-11 FY Annual Recycling Report

Radford University continues to pursue new recycling options and enhance current operations at every opportunity. Recycling this year has proved very successful with higher construction material reuse and higher scrap metal recycling levels resulting in a record 51.68 percent recycling rate in comparison to last year’s rate of 31.47 percent. Corrugated cardboard increased in the overall tons recycled and this is the second straight year that Radford University has achieved its highest recycling rate ever. Reflected below is a snapshot of the universities overall recycling statistics for fiscal year 2011:

Annual FY2011 Recyling Rate: 51.68 %
Total Recyclables: 1355.10 tonsTotal Solid Waste: 1266.88 tonsComposting: 66.54 tons
Containers: 15.29 tonsMixed Paper: 70.7 tonsCorrugated Cardboard: 91.23 tons

Using a simple calculation, by diverting 1355 tons of recyclables from the local landfill, Radford University had a cost e avoidance of $43,360 in just tipping fees. This does not take into account, fuel, items that received a rebate, or any other costs.
The following snapshot derived from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WAste Reduction Model (WARM) Calculator reflects figures specifically from RU’s three main recycling categories (Containers, Mixed Paper, and Corrugated Cardboard) with composting below:

  • Total Change in Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions: -725 MTCO2E (Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent)** compared to -735 MTCO2E the previous fiscal year with a difference of -10 MTCO2E
  • Total Change in Energy Use: - 6,095 million BTU** compared to - 6,237 the previous fiscal year with a difference of - 142 million BTU

(This is equivalent to 57 households’ Annual Energy Consumption compared to 58 the previous fiscal year with a difference of 1 households); 1,051 barrels of oil (compared to 1,075 barrels of Oil the previous fiscal year with a difference of 24 barrels); or 49,038 Gallons of Gasoline (compared to 50,185 gallons of gasoline the previous fiscal year with a difference of 1,147 gallons)
• Total Change in Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions for Composting: -43 MTCO2E (Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent)** (compared to -42 the previous fiscal year with a difference of -1 MTCO2E)
• Total Change in Energy Use for Composting: 6 million BTU** (compared to 5 million BTU’s the previous fiscal year with a difference of 1 million BTU)
*Note: Recyclable construction waste may cause the overall annual recycling percentage rate to significantly fluctuate from year to year based on high tonnages recorded.
**Note: A negative value indicates an emission reduction; a positive value indicates an emission increase.



  • RU achieved its highest recycling rate ever, 51.68%
  • Scrap metal saw a more than four-fold increase with more than 319,000 lbs.
  • More than 1,632,000 lbs. of construction materials were reused

Recycling Website

RU competed in a national recycling competition for the third consecutive year achieving a cumulative competition recycling rate of 13.25%. RU increased its corrugated cardboard recycling per person and finished in sixth place in Virginia in the Waste Minimization category. This competition began in 2001 as a friendly competition between Ohio University and Miami University to promote recycling habits in residence halls and dining facilities on campus and has evolved into a nationwide competition between hundreds of schools. The inclusive period for this year’s competition was January 23rd thru April 2nd. (See Appendix 2 for final results)

RU continues to partner with the YMCA to collect usable goods during student move-out. Y-TOSS is a program designed to collect unwanted items from students when they vacate their residence hall rooms during the Spring Semester. A preview sale of the donated items for RU faculty, staff, and students is held the following August. This year’s program yielded a total of 298 donated items, with a total weight of 10,209 lbs. (5.10 tons). (See appendix 3 for a detailed list of donated items)

Tornado Relief Drive
On April 8th, a tornado touched down in neighboring Pulaski County causing significant damage. The Recycling department assisted the local community by providing humanitarian support for a campus wide Tornado Relief drive from April 14th thru April 22nd to collect household goods and clothing to assist those in need.

Full scale composting operations at Dalton Dining Hall continued throughout the majority of this fiscal year yielding a total of 67 tons of compostable material. Radford University will continue to explore new and alternative options in composting and waste reduction as this is still an emerging field in Southwest Virginia.

Zero Waste Events
RU launched a total of three zero waste events this fiscal year diverting a total of 1,860 lbs. of compostable waste from the local landfill resulting in an average zero waste event recycling rate of 98%. (See appendix 4 for an overview of these events)

Fall 2010 New Student Move-In
Cardboard drop sites were designated outside all residence halls; each site was identified with a banner type sign. Hauling trailers were used to move the cardboard to the compactors for recycling. By closely monitoring key move-in dates and containers that are hauled, staff can consistently estimate cardboard tonnage during this phase (see figures below):
• 2008 – Cardboard recycled: 6.74 tons Landfill waste: 8.68 tons
• 2009 – Cardboard recycled: 4.81 tons Landfill waste: 10.25 tons
• 2010 – Cardboard recycled: 6.80 tons Landfill waste: 8.08 tons

The recycling department continues to stage and recycle all campus e-waste streams with responsible vendors. Once each year, the Apple Computer Company recycles e-waste items from campuses nationwide. This fiscal year Apple Computer recycled a total of 14 pallets of e-waste from RU totaling 9,840 lbs.

Recycling Website
A new on-line recycling bin request form was added to the recycling website this year. This allows users to request a recycling bin specific for their needs in a more accurate and timely manner.

Recycling & Special Events
The Recycling Department was proactive in supporting various recycling events campus wide this year. Activities include the “Bonnie Day’s of April”; this is a weeklong event at the Hurlburt Student Center comprised of a variety of activities hosted by various student groups. Other events include, Highlanderfest, Club Fair Day, sporting events at the Radford University Dedmon Center complex, and American Recycles Day, at this specific event the RU Environmental Club members promoted recycling by hosting a RU Recycling contest referred to as “Cans for Cause” in which participants tossed recyclable containers into recycling collection bins and received a prize for their participation.

Earth Day
On April 20, Radford University recognized the 41st anniversary celebration of Earth Day and many departments on campus participated. The Sustainability and Recycling departments set up static displays to educate and highlight their programs. The RU Environmental Club was also represented at this event. Outdoor recycling containers were provided for this huge event. In a continuing tradition, a tree was also planted on the Heth lawn near Young Hall in commemoration of this special day.

Construction Waste Recycling
The Recycling Department continues to serve as a liaison between designated contractors and various recycling vendors to recycle construction waste which typically includes cardboard from unpackaged building materials to various metals like steel, aluminum, copper, and brass. This year’s major construction recycling includes scrap metal and cardboard recycling from Jefferson and Madison Residence Hall renovation projects and scrap metal recycling at various mechanical rooms as air conditioning units and general plumbing was upgraded.

Closing Remarks

Radford University continues to explore new and improved methods of recycling. Radford has now completed a campus wide assessment to determine the university’s carbon footprint, culminating in the University's first Greenhouse Gas Inventory. are underway to develop Radford University’s first Climate Action Plan which includes campus recycling and waste figures and their associated green house gases. Radford continues to strive and excel as a model for sustainable practices in the Commonwealth.

Download the full PDF version of the 2010-11 FY Annual Recycling Report.