Since July 2012, John Brown University's main campus has been a zero landfill institution, a transition that is part of an overall sustainability strategy. John Brown University is believed to be the first university in Arkansas and Oklahoma to have a zero landfill campus.
What is "zero landfill"?
Zero landfill means any waste material from JBU is diverted from landfills either through recycling or non-emission incineration. More than 50% of JBU's trash is recycled, and the rest is compacted and incinerated.
How does JBU reduce waste?
JBU got rid of all the dumpsters on campus and provided individual recycling bins to each dorm room, classroom, common area, office, and meeting room. Faculty and staff are provided recycling bins which cuts down on the number of plastic bags used. Transfer stations, areas in residence halls which accept recyclable materials, were increased in each residence hall and students are asked to recycle their own trash.
What about non-recycled material?
John Brown University purchased two compactors: one for cafeteria waste (pictured right) and one for regular trash (pictured lower right). JBU compacts non-recyclable material on campus and cafeteria waste is taken to a local hog farm. Non-food items are incinerated, which means there is no air pollution from burning the non-recyclable content.
How does this help students?
Recycling, reducing and reusing simultaneously reduces the university's carbon footprint and makes economic sense. Conserving water, electricity and gas keeps the overall institutional cost lower while also lowering the university's impact on the environment.
Being a zero landfill campus requires a community effort. JBU partnered with several local waste management authorities and local businesses to recycle everything possible and convert the rest to energy. The university recycles materials in the following ways:
- Metal - Salvaged and sold to the local metal recycling companies in Siloam Springs.
- Plastics - Sent to city of Siloam Springs for recycling
- Cardboard - Sent to city of Siloam Springs for recycling
- Paper - Sent to city of Siloam Springs for recycling
- Glass - Sent to city of Siloam Springs for recycling
- Plastic bags - taken to a local retail store that offers consumer recycling
- E-Waste (electronic waste) - Recycled by eSco
- Batteries and lead based materials - Recycled locally
- Recharable and non-lead batteries - Taken to Lowes for recycling
- Light bulbs with high mercury content - sent to waste management
- Kitchen Grease - Converted to biodiesel and used to power lawnmowers
- Cafeteria waste - taken to local hog farm
- Removing dumpsters - During move-out days on campus, instead of having students dump unwanted items in a dumpster, the workers from the Salvation Army come and take away items that can be reused. Reducing the use of dumpsters saves the university over $30,000 annually.
John Brown University would like to thank the following organizations for partnering with the university in an effort to become a more sustainable institution:
The City of Siloam Springs
USA Metal Recycling
West Siloam Metal Recycling
Siloam Springs Metal Recycling