The UO Zero Waste Program is a multi-funded project of the University of Oregon. Funding comes from: Facilities Services, the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (through incidental fees), University Housing, Paper Revenue, Charge-outs and a campus vending contract..
The UO Zero Waste Program is officially managed under the direction of the Purchasing and Contracts Manager of Facilities Services. Due to the funding contributions of Housing and ASUO, the Campus Recycling Manager has an indirect relationship with these parties. Though this has been an evolving process, the UO Zero Waste Program is an efficient operation. Other Universities have Recycling Managers who do not have any direct authority over the people performing the recycling duties. Though it does initially make sense to involve the custodians in the collections, custodians do not only collect trash, they have a multitude of duties. Programs incorporating recycling into custodial duties, have had a difficult time doing an extensive job with the recycling.
At the UO, recycling has evolved to be a single focus operation. The structure reflects consistency in supervision, responsibility and authority. Being a multi-funded program, everyone has an investment and thus people take ownership of the program. Being a program that utilizes student labor, has been an excellent opportunity for students to develop knowledge and leadership skills. Many students have left the UO to run other recycling and environmental programs. This was an essential component of creating the program.
The UO Zero Waste Program, though centered on operations, has a strong educational component not only for getting information out to the users but for the student employees as well. Each summer students go on mill tours and see the full recycling process. They are involved in local recycling conferences as well. With this in mind, the UO Zero Waste Program has employed a Recycling Program Operations Coordinator who spends 50% of their time working out student schedules and training's (see student involvement section).
Though cooperative funding as this can be a challenge at times, this process has facilitated longevity of the UO Zero Waste Program. It has provided an invaluable security opportunity in that one party cannot decide to suddenly end the Program. With many parties interest in this program, things get worked through and the program has been able to evolve. Though it doesn't happen often, there have been challenges where the different interests have worked together to ensure the future of the program amidst any political issues that might come up that threaten the existence of the program. Additionally, by funding and structuring the program as is done here at the University of Oregon, people tend to work to make it successful as opposed to continually challenging its existence.
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