In 2007, the University of Tennessee decided to take recycling more seriously after spending nearly $900,000 to send its waste to landfill. Now, 10 years later, the university is spending less than $400,000 a year to transport waste and its recycling rate has increased to about 30 percent.
During the 2016 football season, the university diverted approximately 25 tons from landfill during a few single games. While most of the material collected from the games was composted or recycled, some of the leftover edible material was prepared for Second Harvest Food Bank to pick up.
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The University of Tennessee spent almost $900,000 in 2007 to send its trash to a landfill. Campus-wide recycling was nine percent of total waste.
Ten years later, UT spends less than $400,000 a year transporting trash, and recycling has reached approximately 30 percent of total waste, UT Recycling Manger Jay Price said.
"We were literally throwing almost $1 million away," Price said. "So we felt like there was a lot of room for improvement there. So we started improving things one piece at a time."