Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.77
Liaison Andrew Porter
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Cincinnati
IN-50: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Daniel Hart
Sustainability Coordinator
Planning + Design + Construction
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Uptown Waste Diversion

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The University of Cincinnati has robust programs for diverting waste from the landfill and getting it to those in need when students move out of on-campus residence halls, but historically where there was room for improvement is when students move out of their off-campus apartments and houses. In an effort to create a positive solution to this problem, beginning in 2018, UC developed a program known as Uptown Waste Diversion, which is a collaborative partnership between the University, the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability, the City of Cincinnati’s Department of Public Services, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, and various community councils and neighborhood associations. The mission of the program is to divert waste from the landfill, reduce litter, prevent blight, and get unwanted material to those in need during off-campus student move out at the end of July and the beginning of August. The program is designed and led by the full-time staff of UC’s Office of Sustainability and representative from the external partners. Uptown Waste Diversion provides a central donation hub that is located off-campus for a week and a half at the end of July and beginning of August, when most students who live off campus move out of their residences. The program promotes appropriate reuse through providing a donation trailer for clothing, furniture, school supplies, houseware, and misc. items. During the course of the program, this portion of the site functions as a free-store, as members of the community are allowed to take material that they may want. At the end of the event, the remaining material is donated to local charities. Trash and co-mingled recycling dumpsters are also located at the site, providing the opportunity for people to trash material that doesn’t have another use, or recycling cardboard and appropriate material from home. Additionally, areas are designated for scrap metal, tires, and other miscellaneous material, which are taken to the appropriate place after the event ends for recycling or reuse.

The site is staffed by a paid site supervisor, student workers from UC’s Office of Sustainability, and volunteers. Volunteers tend to either get involved out of their own interest and passion, or to fulfill scholarship requirements, these volunteers are able to earn service hours for their contribution to the project. These individuals working at the site greet people dropping off material and educate them on the intention of the program in addition to guiding where the material that the individuals bring should go. Storytelling, promotions, and community engagement is a critical part of making the program a success and helps us in working to create a culture of zero-waste in the community surrounding the University. UC staff meet with the various community councils and neighborhood associations to talk about best practices for the program and work with the neighbor’s interest in mind. Additionally, Office of Sustainability student staff canvas and do door-to-door outreach informing students living in the neighborhood about the program. The physical nature of diverting waste from ending up in the landfill, keeping it from cluttering up City streets, and getting material to those in need, combined with the social aspects of educating and building community are waste reduction, life cycle analysis and zero waste has made the program robust and successful. Perhaps the most successful aspect of the program is in the nature of how it is a collaborative effort between a diversity of stakeholders, allowing each entity to provide some resources while working together on a common goal. The program has been featured at the International ReUse Connex Conference and on an AASHE webinar.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

UC's Uptown Waste Diversion was also highlighted on an AASHE webinar:


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