The Sustainability Office at Wartburg College seeks to help the Wartburg community find ways to better steward its resources. Check out the menu below for recycling tips, ideas on everyday practices to help the environment, ways to be involved on campus, and how to find reports on the college’s sustainability efforts. 

Questions?  E-mail

Brian Rumsey, sustainability coordinator

Meet Brian Rumsey, Wartburg’s environmental sustainability administrator. (That’s him on the left with his daughter during May Day of Service, planting flowers together on campus.)

Sustainability Quick Facts

Since 2009, Wartburg has supported a community garden. All produce goes to Dining Services to be incorporated into meals. The garden is sustained with volunteer support.

Dining Services buys nearly all food locally so farmers can reinvest their money into their own community. Buying local also helps the environment as it reduces travel expenses found in supermarkets.

Wartburg has water bottle fillers located in Science Center, Luther Hall, Saemann Student center and Vogel Library to reduce waste.

During construction of the Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center in 2007, the college partnered with the local energy utility to fund a wind turbine that offsets the facility’s energy consumption.

The Mensa Dining Hall is tray-less to reduce water, energy, and food waste. The facility also uses front-loading washers, which saves 14,976 gallons of water every four days.

Wartburg College hired Schneider Electric, an energy consulting firm, to implement a $2.4 million energy efficiency project. Overall, the project is projected to save $270,000 annually in utility costs.

Residence halls and academic buildings have low flow toilets and shower heads.

In 2014, an overhaul of the waste management process led to decreased landfill collection. Waste containers were retrofitted into recycling-waste sorting containers, and employees are responsible for bringing the contents to bins placed near each office.

  • Unplug your electronics when not in use or charging, especially over breaks.
  • Use a CFL in your lamp instead of overhead lights.
  • Use an energy star fridge in your room and use only one.
  • Sign up to “Be Green Certified” with the Sustainability Office.
  • Participate in eco challenges, events and clubs on campus.
  • Turn off lights 

Wartburg College hired Schneider Electric, an energy consulting firm, to implement a $2.4 million energy efficiency project through utility improvements. One-third of the estimated cost of the project was funded by a grant from the state Office of Energy Independence through a U.S. Department of Energy program. Overall, the project is projected to save $270,000 annually in utility costs.

Water improvements

  • 64 toilets in the residential bathrooms and 38 toilets in academic buildings were replaced with 1.28 gpf toilets.
  • 24 toilets in Afton Manor had their flush valves retrofit to 2.7 gpf.
  • 12 urinals in academic building had valves retrofit to low-flow specifications.
  • 307 sink faucets in residential buildings and 198 sink faucets in academic buildings have been replaced.
  • 175 showers in residential shower rooms have ben retrofit with 1.25 gpm massage type, non-tamper resistant showerheads.
  • Showers in Wartburg-Wellness Center have been retrofit with 1.5 gpm showerheads.
  • A flow control system has been installed on the Pot Wash garbage disposer in the Main Kitchen.
  • These upgrades are expected to save around 6,500 gallons of water annually.

Gas efficiency

  • New motorized isolation valves have been added to the Science Center. The boiler’s new motorized isolation valves reduce the required pump horsepower, the amount of hot water flow (gpm), and thus will reduce the amount of natural gas that the boilers use, by reducing the number of boilers in operation.
  • A new heat recovery chiller has been installed in the W. Heat recovery chillers preheat water with heat produced by cooling the cold water line.
  • The boiler in Luther Hall and Neumann Auditorium was replaced. The new boiler has an energy efficiency of 93%, as opposed to the current boiler which has an energy efficiency of about 65%.

An estimated170,000 therms or 17,000 MMBTU’s are anticipated to be saved from these improvements.

Electrical efficiency

  • Motion sensors for lighting were installed into each building timed to shut off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • In addition, about 4000 light fixtures have been retrofitted or replaced with more efficient fluorescent lighting
  • New energy management systems were installed to insure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are operated efficiently, yet provide comfort conditions in areas when occupied. During unoccupied hours, the systems will monitor their assigned areas to determine how to efficiently run heating, air conditioning, and ventilation.
  • Maintenance staff installed photosensitive lighting, or lighting that recognizes if it needs to be on or not by the amount of light that is already present in a space.

These improvements are estimated to save 1,600,000 kWh of electricity and 1,900 kW of power.

Move-in and move-out days create large amounts of unnecessary waste for colleges across the country. OrangeMove is a program that educates students on how to move in and out of their college residential hall sustainably. These helpful tips will help you to be more green:
Wrap breakables in clothing or used newspaper instead of bubble wrap. This will help reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that is created on move in days.
Pack your belongings in reusable bags, totes, or previously used boxes. At move-out time, The Wartburg Store provides some strong boxes for student use.

Prior to returning to campus in the fall, Wartburg students are educated on how to move into their residential halls sustainably. During move-in days volunteers reduce the amount of space cardboard takes up in the cardboard recycling areas by cutting down boxes. Other Move-in tips include:
Looking for the Energy Star label when purchasing appliances. These appliances have been certified by the US government to have superior energy efficiency.
Talk to your roommate(s). For items that can be shared between your room or suite, save yourself money and space and only bring one.
Bring a plant! Plants not only make your room or suite feel more like home, they also keep the air fresh.
Pack reusable containers and utensils. Bring a reusable water bottle or coffee mug to use around campus. Discounts are offered at Wartburg Dining locations for students who bring their own container!
When you are finished unpacking make sure to break down your boxes and place them in a “cardboard only” dumpster.

Donation stations are located in each residential hall’s lounge the last week of Winter Term and May Term. Students can donate unwanted, gently used items from their room by placing items in designated areas within each lounge. At the end of the week, volunteers pick-up and deliver collected items from the residential halls to local thrift stores. Items that students cannot donate can be recycled at each residential hall’s recycling station. 

The Campus Race to Zero Waste is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, as well as which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools follow their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to reduce and recycle more. National recognition is provided to the winning school in each category on the website and in a national press release. Winning schools receive an award made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year..

If you have any questions or want to volunteer please contact the Sustainability office at Learn more about the program at

Being a consumer comes with responsibilities. Everything you buy affects the world you live in. Buying locally grown food or locally made items will cause that money you spent to stay in your community and multiply. Every dollar you spend is showing your support for that item and where it was made. In some cases your purchase may support child and slave labor in other countries. Learn about where it was made and how it was made before you buy something. Every purchase matters.

Easy Everyday Practices for the Environment

1. Shut Off & Unplug It

When you leave the room, turn off the light – even if you’ll only be gone for a minute. Brushing your teeth or conditioning your hair in the shower? Turn off the water unless needed to rinse, and you’ll help save gallons of water! When taking your phone off the charger, also unplug the charger from the wall because it still uses the same amount of electricity whether being used or not, which is called using “phantom electricity.”

2. Have a Light Bulb Moment

If it is daylight, consider opening your blinds before flipping your switch on. The type of bulbs in your sockets matter – buy LED or CFL lights. Though more expensive, the payback comes quickly.

3. Drive Less, Walk or Bike More

You’ll save gas and be healthier for it. If you must drive, minimize your trips and ask friends to ride along. If you drive and have a cell phone, charge it in the car because it doesn’t require any extra energy whereas at home it does. You can check out an orange bike at the Vogel Library to use around Waverly! 

4. Consume Wisely

Buy from socially and environmentally responsible companies, purchase Energy Star-certified appliances, search for items with the least amount of packaging, and try to buy from locally-owned businesses.

5. Seek More Information

Stay involved and aware of both contemporary issues surrounding sustainability as well as progressions in technology development. This will make you better equip to participate in our democratic process.


Wartburg Garden

Students in the 2009 IS 101: Sustainability came up with the project of starting a vegetable garden that would be located on the corner of Fifth Ave. NW and Seventh St. NW. On Earth Day, garden planners and volunteers got to work constructing a fence around the garden plot, measuring and marking rows, and planting the first seeds of the garden.

Today, the garden has moved locations to the corner of Seventh St. NW and Third Ave. NW (just east of Lohe Hall). Produce from the garden can be used by Dining Services to be incorporated into meals. The garden is sustained with volunteer support, and we need YOU to volunteer! Watch for an opportunity in the spring to adopt a plot or help prepare the raised beds for planting. Knowing how to grow your own food can be a valuable skill when you are on a tight budget or learning to live more sustainably. If you are interested, email with “Garden” in the subject line.

Buy Fresh, Buy Local

Buying locally produced food helps farmers in your region. In turn these farmers are more likely to reinvest their money into their own community. This cycle will help strengthen your community. Buying local will also help the environment. Locally produced food travels on average 1,500 miles fewer than most items found in a supermarket. This means less resources involved in packaging, distribution and transportation.

Buying local can also help your health. Since the food doesn’t have as far to travel it isn’t long after the food is picked that you buy it. This allows the produce to retain a higher nutritional value.

Reduce & Reuse

Water Bottle Fillers

Wartburg has bottle fillers in the Science Center, Luther Hall, Saemann Student Center, Vogel Library and The W. Please choose these over bottled water to reduce waste.

Dining Services

Wartburg’s Dining Services has made great strides toward becoming more sustainable. A couple of the major achievements have been going tray-less in the Mensa and purchasing front-loading washers. Going tray-less has led to savings in water, the energy needed to heat the water, the number of dishes that need to be washed, and the amount of food and water waste generated. The front-loading washers, over the period of 48 days, saved 14,976 gallons of water and have decreased the number of loads that need to be done each day.

Extra Tips

– Eat in the Mensa as opposed to other dining locations to use their reusable plateware instead of disposable ones.

– Don’t be afraid to ask for smaller portions when eating in the Mensa.

– Bring your own reusable water bottle or mug instead of wasteful disposable ones.

– Use a cone instead of a dish for ice cream.


Fair Trade

The 2011 US Department of Labor’s guide to products made of slave and child labor is a great guide for making social justice guided purchasing decisions. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005 requires the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Affairs (ILAB) to “develop and make available to the public a list of goods from countries that ILAB has reason to believe are produced by forced labor or child labor in violation of international standards.” ILAB published its initial List on September 10, 2009, which included 122 goods from 58 countries. ILAB published its first update to the List on December 15, 2012, adding 6 goods and 12 countries. The 2011 update adds 2 good and 1 country to the List, a relatively small number compared to the 2009 initial List and the 2010 update. The List includes only those goods for which we are able to document the use of child or forced labor in their production. Given the pervasive nature of these global problems, it is likely that many more goods are produced through these egregious forms of labor use.


Thrift Stores

Trinkets & Togs
114 10th Street SW, Waverly (next to Sasquatch Jack’s)
(319) 352-8029 
Store Hours: M 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; T-F 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sa 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Goodwill Waverly

400 Technology Place SW, Waverly, IA
(319) 352-8804
Store Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day

Recycling Grid

To help you reduce your contribution to the landfill, we have provided easily accessible recycling stations next to each residence hall and in every academic building. The college partners with the City of Waverly to recycle the following items. We hope that you take the time to find one of the multiple recycling stations close to you. Your impact is bigger than you realize.

Where to Recycle

Academic & Business Buildings: You will find recycling stations on nearly every floor in each building across campus.

Residence Halls: There are recycling stations accessible to every residence hall on Wartburg’s campus.In Grossmann and Löhe, the recycling stations are on each floor. In The Residence, they are outside the lounge. In all other halls they are located outside near the dumpsters.

Single Stream
These items go into the big blue bins that are provided by the city and is collected by the city. 

Items Accepted in Single Stream:

  • Plastic #1-7 (no bags or styrofoam)
  • Paper and Paperboard (white, colored, glossy, newspaper, magazines, cereal boxes)
  • Metal (tin, steel, aluminum)
  • Cans (tin and aluminum)
  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Redeemable containers (bottles and cans)
  • Cardboard (broken down)

Items Not Accepted in Single Stream:

  • Glass
  • Food waste and food soiled containers
  • Plastic bags and packaging
  • Waxy paper products
  • Plastic food service containers
  • Food wrappers and bags
  • Tissue, paper towels, and napkins
  • Mixed material items (milk cartons, etc.)
  • Styrofoam
  • E-waste

Waste Reduction
Looking for small changes to make a big difference?  

Here are a few every day ways to lessen your carbon footprint:

  • Bring your own reusable dining items, such as a reusable bottle or cup for drinking, silverware to eat with in the Den, and a straw.
  • Ask for 100 percent recycled paper at the print center.
  • When needing to purchase school supplies, start at the REUSE(D) store in ’15 Old Main (basement). Don’t find what you’re looking for? Consider purchasing green items, like the refillable or EarthWrite recycled pencils, recycled folders, notebooks, etc.
  • Participate in eco challenges, events and clubs on campus.
  • If planning a campus events, follow the “Sustainable Event Planning Guide” under resources.

Cans for a Cause
Cans for a Cause is a program that gives student organizations around Wartburg College an opportunity to help with campus sustainability while earning money for their organization. Student groups volunteer to sort redeemable cans from around campus and in return the student organization will receive the deposits from the cans. All coordination is lead through Knights Who Serve.

Recycling in Dining
A portion of to-go containers from Wartburg Dining can be recycled, IF they are clean, not soiled with grease or wet food.

Single-Stream Recycling in Retail Dining Areas:

  • Paper boats
  • Paper bowls
  • Wartburg coffee cups (paper)
  • Paper bags
  • Plastic cups

Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Recycling
As part of the recycling program, Wartburg offers the collection of electronic materials. 

Examples of E-Waste:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Mice and keyboards
  • Servers
  • Monitors
  • Copiers
  • Printers
  • Paper shredders
  • Cell phones
  • Network equipment

REUSE(D) Store
REUSE(D) items are available outside the Student Life Office. The items are free to students, faculty, and staff.

Give Unwanted, gently used office supplies from your office/room.

Receive:  Before buying new, stop by Student Life to see if the item you are looking for has been donated. Take supplies that you need free of charge! If you find you don’t need them, simply return them.

Here is what we regularly shelve:

  • Binders
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Staplers and Tape dispensers
  • Scissors
  • Three hole punchers
  • Staples and tape
  • Pens and pencils
  • Envelopes
  • Office organizers
  • Markers, crayons and colored pencils
  • Paper clips, rubber bands and pins


If you are interested in getting involved with Wartburg's sustainability efforts, email