The simple answer is that since the year 1999 it has been UMass policy that students and staff should comply with the recycling requirements presented in the UMass Recycling Guidelines. The rationale for expecting members of the UMass community to recycle and compost is two fold: first, it is both federal and state policy (Mass. DEP Waste Bans) to prevent the disposal of readily recyclable materials in the state's landfills and incinerators, and second, recycling and composting programs are responsible for a range of environmental and social benefits that include: the reduction of air and water pollution, the curtailment of greenhouse gas emissions and significant energy conservation.
A presentation of the environmental benefits of recycling and composting can be found at Environmental Benefits on this webpage.
The UMass policy was adopted by the Chancellor Scott's Executive Advisory Council (September 21, 1999)
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.
Still, more opportunities remain to reduce, re-use, and recycle University wastes that are now destined for the landfill. State and local environmental regulations prohibit the disposal of recyclable material in landfills and incinerators. The University must comply with these regulations or face possible fines and load rejections. Local disposal facilities may assess fines against waste loads containing greater than 5% recyclable material.
It is the obligation of every member of the campus community to do their part by helping the University increase its recycling rate and reduce waste - including unnecessary fines and disposal fees.
University faculty, students, and staff are expected to cooperate with this program by separating recyclable materials from trash and sorting these materials into our color-coded recycling bins. The Physical Plant's Office of Waste Management will continue to support this effort by issuing recycling guidelines and providing up-to-date information and assistance to the campus community.