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Landfill Waste Reduction Policy

Policy Number: PSP-4300-02

Policy Title:  Landfill Waste Reduction Policy

Vice Chancellor/Associate Chancellor: Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

Unit Responsible for Policy: Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management

Effective Date: February 1, 2022

Contacts: Assistant Vice-Chancellor and Director of Sustainability

Policy Statement: The University of Illinois Chicago seeks to maximize waste reduction as part of the UIC Climate Commitments and the UIC Climate Action Implementation Plan (CAIP). UIC accomplishes this through techniques such as source reduction, materials reuse, individual and organizational recycling, food recovery, and composting. It is the responsibility of every member of the campus community to support these efforts to protect our environment and minimize unnecessary resource use. All university offices, departments and units shall:

  1. Limit unnecessary purchases and purchase environmentally preferable supplies from approved vendors unless the use of the product constitutes an undue practical hardship.
  2. Use potable tap water for all events where it is available and its use is not too costly, rather than purchasing bottled water.
  3. Purchase paper with a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled material and reduce paper usage by utilizing electronic processes and double-sided printing. Consistent with the Illinois Procurement Code, preference should be given to paper products containing verified post-consumer recycled content or other recovered materials, with a remaining virgin tree fiber content that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or an equivalent certification system.

Students, faculty, staff, and guests are expected to participate in the university’s waste reduction efforts by following instructions regarding the separation of recyclable and non-recyclable materials and by placing recyclable materials in appropriately marked recycling containers.

The Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management is responsible for preparing a Waste Reduction Plan every five years, in accordance with the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act. In order to achieve UIC’s Zero Waste Campus goal, each unit and college will develop a Zero Waste Plan, with input from their departments. The Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management provides templates, guidance, support for waste audits, coordinates the placement of equipment, labeling, signage, and provides educational resources to the campus community. They also collect and monitor recycling operation data and provide reporting to campus units. Facilities Management responsibility in UIC’s recycling and municipal solid waste programs is the collection of the materials in common areas and their transportation to materials processing facilities.

This policy will be reviewed every five years (at minimum).

Reason for Policy: The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the University of Illinois Chicago accomplishes its waste reduction objectives to increase its landfill diversion rate from 45% to 50% in the coming decade and to become a Zero Waste Campus by diverting 90% of landfill-bound material by 2050. Reduction of use of one-time use plastics, paper, bottled water, decreasing food waste, and redistribution of unwanted materials from one department to another reduces purchasing expenses and waste collection costs to the university while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfilling materials. Adhering to these guidelines will help UIC close the loop by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and promoting materials containing recycled material, per the UIC Climate Commitments.

Minority Impact Statement: This policy does not have any disproportionate or unique impact on UIC’s minority students, staff, or faculty.

Who Should Read the Policy: All UIC faculty, staff, students, contractors, and representatives at the Chicago Campus and its regional or other sites (including but not limited to all UI Health sites).


  • Compost: The biodegradation of organic waste including food, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, and wood, which is carried out under controlled aerobic conditions and eventually turns into a valuable organic fertilizer.
  • Construction and demolition (C&D): Materials that are generated when new building and outdoor structures are built and when existing buildings, walkways, and roads are renovated or demolished (including deconstruction activities).
  • Environmentally preferable supplies: Supplies that are less harmful to the natural environment and human health than substantially similar supplies for the same purpose. Attributes of environmentally preferable supplies include, but are not limited to, the following:(i) made of recycled materials, to the maximum extent feasible;(ii) not containing, emitting, or producing toxic substances;

    (iii) constituted so as to minimize the production of waste; and

    (iv) constituted so as to conserve energy and water resources over the course of production, transport, intended use, and disposal.

  • Food Recovery: The recovery of perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from kitchens and food service and donating it to people in need.
  • Municipal solid waste: also called trash or garbage is defined as wastes consisting of everyday items such as product packaging, yard waste, furniture, clothing, bottles and cans, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, consumer electronics and batteries.
  • Recycling: The general reduction of waste generation and separation from the waste stream of specified materials for separate collection and reuse, which protects the environment and reduces the amount of solid waste disposed of in landfills.
  • Source Reduction: The result of any activity that reduces the amount of a material or agricultural input needed and therefore used to make products or food. Examples include reusing products and materials, extending the lifespan of products and materials, and redesigning products to use fewer materials.
  • UIC Climate Commitments: Goals and commitments made by the University of Illinois Chicago to create a resilient campus and recognize and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The UIC Climate Commitments include goals to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to become a zero waste, net zero water and biodiverse campus.
  • Zero Waste Campus Goal: This goal represents UIC’s commitment to divert 90% of landfill bound materials by 2050. As of FY2018 UIC’s diversion rate is 45% for municipal solid waste and 97% for Construction & Demolition waste. The UIC Climate Action Implementation Plan is focused on diverting food waste from landfill, streamlining collection, increasing outdoor recycling, and targeting hard-to-handle waste streams.

Procedures: Procedures for the Recycling Policy can be found on the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management website.

Related Laws, Regulations, Statutes, and Policies:

Document History: 

Approved: January 25, 2022