Program Cuts Campus Trash
Program Cuts Campus Trash
By D. Lyn Hunter,
The little blue bin sitting next to your desk has made a big difference in the amount of paper recycled at Berkeley.
Since the implementation of "desk-side" recycling last spring, mixed paper recycling has increased from two tons per week to more than five tons a day, says Lisa Bauer, coordinator of Campus Recycling Services.
"The program has been very positively received," said Bauer. "We have a lot of participation, which is generating high tonnage."
For more than 15 years, File 13, an ASUC student-oriented recycling collective, provided paper recycling for the campus, but discontinued the service when it became financially prohibitive.
To fill the gap, Campus Recycling Services stepped in, distributing more than 10,000 blue recycling bins to workstations across campus. Virtually any kind of paper, including white, computer, color, glossy, magazines, newspaper, cardboard, brochures and notebooks, can be put in the bins.
"We tried to create a user-friendly, no sorting or transporting program," said Bauer. "So far, it's proven quite successful. But more can be done."
The campus needs to maximize its use of the bins, she said. "We still see lots of paper being thrown into trash cans."
This frequently happens when employees purge, move or clean out their offices, said Bauer. "We can provide larger bins for this purpose."
Sometimes employees get over zealous in their recycling efforts and use the bins for items other than mixed paper, says Bauer.
"Occasionally, we find bottles, cans, coffee cups and tissues in the bins," said Bauer. "When this happens, a note is taped to the recycling container warning users not to contaminate the mixed paper with these items."
In most campus buildings, custodians are responsible for emptying the bins and taking the paper to special receptacles throughout campus. The paper is then picked up by a truck and taken to a local recycling yard.
Bolstered by the success of the mixed paper program, Bauer is looking for other kinds of refuse that can be recycled. By analyzing the campus' garbage, Bauer has come up with some ideas.
"Laboratory animals create a lot of organic waste," she said. "We would like to compost it instead of throwing it away." The waste could be collected by university or city of Berkeley organic collection trucks and taken to a composting facility in Modesto.
Computers is another area of concern for Bauer. "I've found monitors, printers and CPU's in the trash," she said. "People want bigger, better and faster computers so the old models get thrown away. Planned obsolescence equals garbage."
Old computer equipment should be sent to Excess, Surplus
and Salvage, says Bauer. This group either re-sells the
equipment or breaks the units down to recycle the plastic
and metal scrap.