WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The official colors of UNCW are teal, blue and yellow - but the long-term goal is green.
UNCW has a goal to become carbon neutral by the year 2050, as part of the University of North Carolina Sustainability Policy.
"Actual carbon neutrality is practically impossible, because you're always going to be ordering something that needs to travel," explained Kat Pohlman, UNCW's Sustainability Captain. "You just try to reduce your carbon imprint as much as possible."
The steps for UNCW to achieve sustainability are well underway across campus, some of them are visible – while others have become a focal part of the University's landscape.
"We have Leutze Lakes in the middle of campus, and part of those lakes actually irrigate campus," Pohlman said. "We've created a sustainability action plan so that all across campus people know what they can do."
The most simple of those is recycling.
Bins are located campuswide, and the on-campus recycling center is equipped to handle everything from plastics and glass to electronics and batteries.
But the effort is really making a difference in the dining area of Wagoner Hall. Nearly 9,000 gallons of water are saved every day after a decision to remove serving trays, and food waste is being composted and sent off to area farms.
"There's literally nothing in there that can't be composted or reused, so there is no separating things. Your plate is going to be cleaned off and everything on your plate can be composted," Pohlman explained.
Reused items are also helping shape growth on campus. New construction is taking advantage of reused material, LED lighting, and solar options in ways to save energy and University costs.
Based on figures from the UNC system, UNCW will save $20 million in energy costs over the next five years while seeing the total costs fall from $78 million to $34 million over the next decade.
"All of the buildings are being built to lead silver standings, which are really high standards and we're even going above and beyond that now," Pohlman added. "So, everyone is doing their part which is amazing and we're really fortunate to have that."