UIC Sustainable Materials Management Plan

Savannah Feher, Joe Iosbaker, April Janssen Mahajan, Cindy Klein-Banai, Shantanu Pai, Joy Scrogum

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) recognizes the impacts of climate change and is committed to creating a resilient campus as stated in UIC’s Climate Commitments. The Climate Commitments have led to the development of the Climate Action Implementation Plan (CAIP), a portfolio of solutions geared to transform UIC into a carbon neutral, zero waste, net-zero water, biodiverse, and zero waste campus.

UIC defines zero waste as a 90% diversion rate of landfill-bound material through techniques such as source reduction, materials reuse, recycling, and composting. Zero waste systems prevent pollution and avoid costs associated with landfill disposal. Carbon emissions are also reduced by diverting discarded materials from methane-generating landfills, and avoiding carbon emissions associated with extracting, processing, and transporting raw materials and waste. By implementing a zero waste campus approach, UIC will significantly decrease the university’s impact on the environment.

To realize the goals set out in CAIP, the Chancellor formed the Committee on Sustainability and Energy (CCSE). The CCSE is comprised of five subcommittees tasked with implementing a portion of the CAIP. The CCSE Sustainable Materials subcommittee (formerly “Recycling & Waste Management”) is charged with expanding UIC’s recycling and waste management programs including general recycling, composting, construction, special and hazardous waste. This subcommittee recommends processes and programs to reduce waste volume and increase recycling rates, as well as develops policies to increase sustainable materials into UIC’s purchasing policies.

A team co-led by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and UIC’s Office of Planning Sustainability and Project Management (PSPM) department developed this Sustainable Materials Management Plan. The team included staff, faculty, and students from various departments of UIC, external partners and experts. Together the team worked to document and understand current waste management practices and user experiences; and audited waste generation and its characteristics. With this process, the Sustainable Materials Subcommittee has a comprehensive roadmap to build from the 47% recycling rate today and prime the conditions for a zero waste campus by 2050.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChicago
PublisherUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Number of pages66
StatePublished - 2020


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