Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Catherine Zeman


School recycling programs; Universities and colleges--Environmental aspects; University of Northern Iowa;


In recent years, the concept of sustainability has become mainstream and has begun to be incorporated into the decisions that businesses, organizations, and institutions make. With over 12,000 students, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has great potential to generate large quantities of recyclables (Kaplan & von Kolnitz, 2004). By expanding its recycling program, UNI can increase its appeal to prospective students while gaining economic benefits in addition to protecting the environment. Waste managers at 8 of UNI’s peer institutions (Appendix B) were interviewed to determine how UNI’s recycling and waste diversion efforts compared to similar schools for a variety of measurements. Based on a rubric of waste diversion efforts and investments, UNI ranked lowest compared to its eight peer institutions. Waste diversion efforts that UNI already participated in included separating landscape clippings for mulch, providing special pick-up of used items during move-out week, and informing campus members about recycling options through a recycling webpage. All of these efforts were also commonly practiced or available at the peer institutions surveyed. Efforts that exist at other campuses but not at UNI included an organic compost program, the presence of a full-time recycling coordinator, recycling orientation for new students, faculty, and staff, the opportunity to recycle across campus, and event recycling. The percent of solid waste recycled and the percent diverted could not be used for analysis since tracking of recycled, reused, and composted materials varied from school to school. This demonstrates the need for recycling tracking standards and the difficulty in collecting quantitative measurements for recycling and waste diversion efforts.

Year of Submission



School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services


Division of Health Promotion and Education

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

iv, 49 p.



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