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Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked so many questions! The most frequently asked ones fall into the following categories:

  • General Sustainability, including the Green Fee, internships, grants, and sustainable offices.
  • Waste and Recycling, including what you can and can’t recycle, laboratory recycling, on and off campus recycling locations, event recycling, and compost.
  • Water, including bottle fill stations and how to report a water leak.

Sustainability

What is Sustainability?

In the context of its multiple missions, a sustainable university meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and creates opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to enhance the quality of life throughout their communities, both physical and scholarly.

A sustainable university acts as a living laboratory where sustainability is researched, taught, tested, and constantly refined. Sustainability is a process, not an end goal. It is a framework for organizing and acting which focuses on the whole, values interaction as much as component parts, and crosses traditional divides to address issues collectively.

Mistakes of the past can be remediated, present systems can be evaluated and improved, and future needs addressed in five aspects of university life: teaching, research, public service and outreach, student activities, and internal campus operations.

What is the Green Fee used for?

The $3 student green fee, a student-led initiative which was passed in 2009 with overwhelming student support, is used to help fund the Office of Sustainability, student internships in the Office, a campus sustainability grants program, and new initiatives on campus. The green fee covers about half of the overall Office of Sustainability budget. The remainder of the budget is supported by the UGA Facilities Management Division.

Who pays the Green Fee?

All students who register for UGA courses and pay tuition to UGA pay the $3 green fee. This includes students on UGA’s main and extended campuses as well as students enrolled in UGA study abroad programs.

How can I apply to be an intern in the Office of Sustainability?

Visit our Internships page for details. The internship program runs during the Fall and Spring semesters. Fall semester internships are filled before the end of the previous Spring semester.

What is the Sustainability Grants Program & how do I apply?

The Campus Sustainability Grants program provides competitive funding for student-proposed projects and initiatives designed to advance sustainability through education, research, service, and campus operations.  Proposals are accepted each Fall and awarded projects are implemented in the Spring.  For program details, please visit our Campus Sustainability Grants page.

I am an employee. How do I help my office or department operate more sustainably?

The Office of Sustainability has a voluntary program called Green Arch to help departments become more sustainable in their water and energy use, waste management, and transportation choices. The Green Arch Program is designed to educate, engage, and empower groups of staff and faculty who want to promote a culture of sustainability at the University of Georgia.

Waste and Recycling

Can I recycle this?

More often than not, yes. Check out our Recycling and Compost page for the most up to date details. UGA handles two recycling streams: Mixed Recyclables (paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, and glass) and Hard to Recycle Materials (self-explanatory).

Please do not put film plastics, shredded paper, or Styrofoam in the mixed recyclables. These items should be handled as Hard to Recycle Materials.

Please keep food and drinks out of the recycling and clean out recyclable containers before you put them in the bin. There are some opportunities to compost food scraps on campus.

You can put cardboard pizza boxes in the recycling, but make sure there’s nothing in the box. If the bottom is greasy, recycle the lid and throw the rest in the landfill bin.

Laboratory plastics are currently not allowed in recycling bins due to safety regulations.

If I’m not sure about something should I just throw it in the recycling anyway? Somebody else will sort it out, right?

No. Don’t be a “wishful recycler.” Contamination of our mixed recyclables is a real problem and increases the risk that one of our recycling trucks will be turned away from the sorting facility. As of early 2016 the global recycling market is at rock bottom, so the sorting facility is forced to minimize costs even if it means sending recyclables to the landfill. When in doubt, throw it out.

Where should I take my recyclables?

There are bins for mixed recyclables all over campus. Check out our Recycling and Compost page for locations.

If you have Hard to Recycle Materials please refer to our Recycling and Compost page for disposal options.

Visit the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division’s Website for up-to-date off-campus recycling locations and information, including the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM).

My student organization is hosting an event; how do we recycle our materials?

Recycling and waste containers are available to those who host events on campus. Because there is a delivery cost associated with this request it must be made by a department with an account that can be charged for services provided. Please make requests to recycle@uga.edu. For small gatherings you may check out bins from The Office of Sustainability and set up bins on your own please contact our office for assistance with recycling.

Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division has folding recycling bins and bags available for off-campus festivals and events. Please contact their office at least one month in advance so they can plan for equipment and/or staffing. To reserve bins and/or to view special events recycling guidelines please visit the ACC Recycling Division web site.

What should I do with food scraps?

Please visit our Recycling and Compost page for information about on and off campus composting.

Water

How do we get one of those water bottle filling stations in our building?

The good folks in Facilities Management Division (FMD) install the water bottle filling stations in UGA resident instruction (R.I.) buildings.  The average total cost is between $2,100 – $3,000 per station depending on existing site conditions.  You can request a quote through FMD Work Request.

The policy of FMD is that when a water fountain fails or is broken past practical repair, it will be replaced with a new water fountain / bottle filling station combo at no charge to the department. Funding for replacement of non-ADA accessible fountains is limited and based upon ADA project priorities. In cases where a department has an existing fountain in good repair, but would prefer a new water bottle filling station, they are able to request one to be installed by FMD and paid for by their department.

What do I do if I see a water leak?

During regular business hours please call Facilities Management Division at 706-542-7456. Outside of regular hours please report leaks to UGA Police at 706-542-2200.