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Well, not all of these are actually “frequently asked.” Some have only been asked once and some will probably be asked sometime in the future, we’re just trying to anticipate some of the questions. We’ve grouped them functionally as much as we could, so start here to look for more information. As always, you can always ask us your questions here.

  • Q: I’ve just received a shipment of computers and have a large quantity of packing materials, can I recycle them?
    A: Styrofoam inserts are not recyclable, throw them in the trash. The cardboard has high recycle value, please separate the other packing materials, and break down the cardboard. Small quantities can be placed by any of the existing recycling bins for regular pickup. You can schedule a special pickup for large quantities by e-mailing the Facilities, Operations and Maintenance (FOAM) Dispatch at

    Q: How can I request to have the recycling in my area picked up more frequently?
    A: Please e-mail FOAM Dispatch at and let them know the location of the recycle bin and that it needs to be emptied.

    Q: How can I order more recycling bins or boxes for my area?
    A: Please e-mail FOAM Dispatch at and let them know the number of new bins and boxes that you would like.

    Q: Where can I recycle glass on campus?
    A: There is a glass recycling receptacle located at the Capitol Village, at the OIT dispatch center.

    Q: Do you know what happens to the items on campus that are recycled?
    A: Most of the recycled materials are sent to a local Boise company, Western Recycling. All recyclable items are sorted locally on-site. Paper, newspaper and cardboard are sent to various mills in Oregon and Washington State. Aluminum items are sent to a facility in Kentucky and made into cans. Plastics are shipped overseas to China and melted down into other plastic products. Recycled newspapers are pulped down and re-sold back to the various newspaper companies, such as the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press Tribune to be used again in newsprint. Other papers products, such as office paper, magazines etc are pulped down and sold to other mills and made into a variety of paper products, such as office paper, paper towels and toilet paper.

  • Q: What is the university doing about energy use?
    A: Boise State has a long history of reducing energy use, here are just two items:

    Boise State is currently in the midst of an 8-year “Performance Contract” with Siemans, inc. Through investment in new technology and streamlining operations, energy use has decreased by nearly 20-percent in select campus buildings.

    New buildings are designed with energy efficiency in the forefront. The Norco Building operates 30-percent more efficient than what the code requires. The Environmental Research Building operates 40-percent more efficient due to geothermal heating.

  • Q: The campus uses a lot of water, isn’t it wasteful?
    A: While it is true the campus uses a lot of water, the university takes many steps to ensure that it is a good steward of this precious resource. First, the vast majority of campus irrigation uses water from the South Boise Water Company system. Some of this water passes through the soil, and back into the aquifer. In 2004, Boise State changed over to a data-driven irrigation system that delivers water based on meteorological conditions, not simply a set amount of time each day. We save millions of gallons of water each year using this system.

    Q: Why don’t the university use more native plants and xeriscaping?
    A: Over the past several years some changes have been made in the landscaping of the campus. New plantings are specifically designed to minimize water needs. An example is exhibited in the plantings between the Interactive Learning Center and the Math Building. Boise State will continue to consider this issue while we re-make the campus. Additionally, it is important to understand that campus landscaping helps mitigate the urban ‘heat island’ effect that arises in highly developed urban regions. By lowering the ground temperature around campus (grass is always cooler than blacktop!), we benefit through indirect savings in air conditioning costs.

  • Q: What is Boise State’s Carbon Footprint?
    A: A campus’s ‘Carbon Footprint’ is a systematic accounting of all green house gas (GHG) emission that are directly related to it’s operations. You can find out more about GHG emissions and campus carbon footprints (feetprint?) at the AASHE web site.

    At our latest calculation, Boise State’s footprint is about 50,000 MT (metric tons) of CO2(e) per year. That comes out to about 2.5MT/person.

    Q: What does that Carbon Footprint encompass?
    A: In computing the carbon footprint, we limit the calculations to the contiguous main campus and we account for the carbon implications of our electricity consumption, the burning of natural gas to heat our buildings and water, university-sponsored travel (air, bus, rental cars, athletics) and daily commuting by faculty and staff. What is not included is the carbon impact of procurement (what we buy and eat on campus).

    Q: How does our carbon footprint measure up to other campuses?
    A: Quite well. Actually, Boise State has yet to identify any campus that has a lower per capita carbon footprint. The closest per capita carbon footprint to ours is the University of Idaho, which boasts an impressive 3.1 MT/capita. Additionally, one of the campuses heralded as particularly ‘green’ is Oberlin College in northern Ohio – with a carbon footprint over 16 per capita.

  • Q: Why are parking permits so expensive?
    A: While it’s certainly true that parking permits are expensive, it’s important to realize that the income for parking permits does not cover the total cost of running the parking system on campus. As alternative options to get to/from campus become more convenient, it’s more likely that the costs of parking permits will go up, not down in the foreseeable future.

    Q: Do I have options other than driving?
    A: Great Question! Here are the main options to driving alone and why you might want to consider them:

    Carpooling: This is the easiest first step, particularly if you know folks who live by you, who come to campus on the same days. Boise State Transportation and Parking Services offers special ‘car pool’ permits that offer significant discounts when compared to individual permits. Go the the Boise State web site for more information about carpooling: You can also visit the commuter ride site maintained by the Ada County Highway District:

    Public Transportation: Did you know that all Boise State students, staff and faculty can ride the area buses for free? Click over the the web site to find a route near your home.

    Bicycling: Here’s an option that pays big dividends! Did you know that regular exercise increases productivity and overall cognitive performance? Whether you’re a first year student here at Boise State or a member of the university administration, you should consider the possibility of cycling to campus at least once a week. Fair warning: cycling is addictive and you may soon discover that it’s the only way to go. Check out the Cycle Learning Center for more information.

    Walking: This option is only available for a small portion of our community, but if you live within a mile or two, try it some day. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

    Q: Why should I find other means of getting to campus?
    A: That’s a fair question and there’s lots of ways to answer it. From a personal standpoint, avoiding increasing gasoline and parking expenses offer significant personal incentive for individuals. In addition, the university administration has made a significant and visible commitment to lower the environmental impact of our campus. Daily commuting by our staff and students makes up a significant portion of that footprint. By moving members of the university community out of their cars and into alternative forms of transportation, we help keep our air cleaner, lower congestion on local roadways, free up valuable university resources for academic programs and generally increase the quality of life for our community.

    Q: Why doesn’t the university have covered bike parking?
    A: Covered bicycle parking is becoming more common, particularly in rainy climates. Boise State offers overnight bike parking in Bike Barns located in Brady and Lincoln Garages, however day-use bike parking is uncovered. 

  • Q: Does Boise State have a ‘sustainability’ major?
    A: While some schools have jumped on this bandwagon, we have chosen a different path. We’re weaving sustainability throughout the curriculum. We have identified no fewer than 40 undergraduate courses that have substantial content related to sustainability. Regardless of your major, you can learn how to incorporate sustainable principles in your professional life.