The UCI campus community has made a serious effort to cut waste in recent years, resulting in an 80 percent reduction in non-biodegradable junk going to landfills. UCI recycling manager Anne Krieghoff discusses the university’s trash-abatement programs in a new Climate Lab video premiering today. Produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox, the series explores how our daily activities contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. UCI’s Krieghoff has a laser-sharp focus on packaging and single-use utensils that many of us use. Disposable plastic plates, forks, knives, spoons and straws are needed for seconds or minutes but persist in the environment indefinitely. UCI’s approach to solving the problem is a program to encourage students, faculty and staff to eat from containers that are eaten from and cleaned over and over again, drastically cutting down on the number of cardboard, plastic or styrofoam boxes landing in trash bins. “We really do need to prioritize reduce and reuse over recycling,” said Krieghoff. “Recycling is great to deal with a product once it’s already in your hand. But waste minimization is more important.”

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