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Waste Not, Want Not: UT trying to reduce waste it sends to landfills to half

The University of Tennessee said it is trying to cut down the waste it sends to landfills and become a zero-waste institution.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is trying to cut down on its contribution to landfills and become a zero-waste institution, it said in a press release.

The university is trying to reduce its contributions by improving its recycling, composting and reuse programs and by making more environmentally-conscious purchasing practices. The Office of Sustainability is spearheading the effort.

There is a financial incentive to becoming a zero-waste university, too. It earns revenue for recyclable items and brought in nearly $90,000 from paper, cardboard, scrap metal, shipping pallets and used cooking oil last year.

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“Achieving zero waste will require a community-wide effort, but the good news is that there are easy changes everybody can make,” said Jay Price in a press release, UT’s sustainability manager.

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The university said that it hopes to divert half of its waste away from landfills by 2030. In 2018, 33 percent of its waste was diverted.