CMU earns first place in national sustainability competition

Central Michigan University places first in reducing food waste

2022 Race to Zero Waste award badge

Central Michigan University received high honors in the 2022 Campus Race to Zero Waste thanks to the ongoing efforts by students and staff. CMU won first place for large-sized campuses in the Food Organics category of the competition, which is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation.

This was CMU’s fourteenth year participating in the competition, which challenges colleges and universities to reduce waste production. Two hundred colleges and universities from 44 U.S. states and Canada participated, engaging more than 3.6 million students, faculty and staff in the program.

Led by students from Central Sustainability, the university community diverted food and other reusable materials out of landfills through composting, recycling and donating. 

CMU recycled 18,297 pounds of cans and bottles, 118,740 pounds of paper, donated 521 pounds of food organics to people and composted 135,880 pounds. Participants in the competition kept 27.9 million pounds of waste and 200 million single-use plastics out of landfills. Additionally, participants prevented the release of 30,288 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is equal to avoiding the annual emissions from 6,376 cars.

Early this year, CMU received two honors from The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Sustainable Materials Management Program: the 2020 College and Universities Partner of the Year Award and the 2021 WasteWise National Narrative Sustainability Public Education Award.

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