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.