About Us

OWM History

Recycling at UMass went through a rapid expansion in the early 1990s as the state government instituted a series of bans on the disposal of recyclable materials and the Town of Amherst informed the University that it would sustain financial penalties for delivering trash to its landfill containing >5% recyclables. The Physical Plant responded by creating the Office of Waste Management and developing a waste management Master Plan for the University. Implementation of this plan led to the construction of a $1 million dollar recyclables processing & transfer facility (AKA the WRTF - Waste Recovery and Transfer Facility), and the purchase of several hundred thousand dollars worth of recycling trucks and collection containers needed to provide campus-wide access to recycling services.

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The University recycling program was designed to make recycling convenient and easy to understand for students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Amherst campus. Bright, color-coded recycling bins are stationed in every office, lab, classroom, meeting room, cafeteria and dorm room within the campus's 194 buildings. To facilitate participation by all, recyclable paper and container materials may be commingled (mixed together) in two or three categories depending whether the location is an office or a dorm, classroom, public space (see explanation below). Recycling bins are emptied on a weekly or twice weekly schedule.


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Departmental organization can be seen on the OWM Organizational Chart. For contact information, see the Contact Info page.

© 2006 University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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The Office of Waste Management (OWM) has created a comprehensive and effective recycling program that serves as a national model among institutions of higher education. (See our Guide to Recycling Services).

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OWM is responsible for campus moving services. OWM strives to provide courteous, efficient and timely moving services that meet almost any type of faculty and staff need imaginable. (See Guide to Moving Services).

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OWM is also responsible for the handling and disposition of the University's surplus property. OWM works with, and under the guidelines established by, the Property Office to redistribute surplus property on campus, bid out the sale of unwanted items to the public, and donate items no longer needed on campus to non-profit organizations. (See Guide to Surplus Property Management).