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Office of Waste Management

A department of Physical Plant Custodial & Grounds Services
Recycling Image
Recyling History and Data

The History of Recycling at UMass

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.

OWM led the way in higher education during the 1990’s with the  implementation of comprehensive food waste composting and electronics recycling programs.  

OWM is currently creating a flexible, but comprehensive computer model (working with students and faculty from ICONS  program in CNS) which will allow UMass to continually evaluate programmatic and technology options for their impact on cost of service, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

Recycling Rate Graph 1991-2016: 1991 7.5%, 1992 18.5%, 1993 22.5%, 1994 36.5%, 1995 36.5%, 1996 39.5%, 1997 40.5%, 1998 38.5%, 1999 40.5%, 2000 50.5%, 2001 52%, 2002 53%, 2003 54.5%, 2004 52.5%, 2005 53%, 2006 54%, 2007 47.5%, 2008 53.5%, 2009 54.5%, 2010 58%, 2011 56%, 2012 56.5%, 2013 57%, 2014 57.5%, 2015 58 %, 2016 58.5%