Restroom Paper Towel Composting

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 10/09/2013

In Spring of 2013, Recycling & Solid Waste, Custodial Services, UW Libraries staff, and student group EcoReps collaborated on a pilot to divert restroom paper towels from the garbage into the compost stream.


via University of Washington - October 2013

 

In Spring of 2013, Recycling & Solid Waste, Custodial Services, UW Libraries staff, and student group EcoReps collaborated on a pilot to divert restroom paper towels from the garbage into the compost stream. The group chose to pilot the project in high traffic locations like the Suzallo-Allen Libraries and the Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

On April 15, Recycling & Solid Waste worked with Custodial Services to convert all 63 restrooms in the Suzallo-Allen and Odegaard Libraries to paper towel composting. Guided by best practices as identified by UW's composting vendor, Cedar Grove, the team converted existing large garbage receptacles into paper towel compost containers, with compostable liners instead of plastic ones and new signage. Since only the paper hand towels can be composted, a nearby smaller additional container was added to each restroom for garbage and labeled "landfill." A major component of the conversion was developing and posting adequate signage to educate users about the new protocol. The intention behind labeling the smaller containers "landfill" as opposed to "garbage" was to raise people's consciousness about where their waste is going.

During a check-in half-way through the three month pilot, the success of the project was already evident- nearly a ton of paper towels had been diverted from the landfill. Students in EcoReps surveyed library users to find out about public opinion on the new composting program. Of the 43 users surveyed, 98% said they would like to see this program available in all UW restrooms. Due to its success and enthusiastic receptiveness from the UW community, the restroom paper towel composting system is continually expanding to more campus buildings and has also been recently integrated into the MiniMax program.

- See more at: http://f2.washington.edu/ess/promote/snapshots/restroom-paper-towel-composting#sthash.0XrBAxoE.4AJxsoRc.dpuf