Chancellor, campus officials seek ways to reduce waste

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs


lisa bauer

Lisa Bauer, pictured with Brad Letts of Goodwill Industries, leads the campus recycling program. Noah Berger photo.

31 January 2001 | The campus's commitment to environmental responsibility takes center stage Feb. 2, when the campus, with strong support from Chancellor Berdahl, convenes its first-ever recycling summit.

At Friday's two-hour meeting, the chancellor, top administrators, staff and student and community organizations will consider a series of proposals, for recycling more waste and raising awareness of recycling issues.

"Recycling is the way we demonstrate - through action and not just our words - that UC Berkeley cares about the environment," said Berdahl. "We need to strengthen our recycling programs on campus so we can meet our goals, and do our part to conserve resources."

In the past three years - through a variety of programs for recycling paper, beverage containers, and food and plant materials - the campus has nearly tripled, from 12 percent to 35 percent, the amount of waste it diverts from the waste stream.

Now, the goal is a more ambitious 50 percent.

Recycling proposals on the table include more and better outdoor recycling bins, improved outreach and education, new uses for fertilizers created from campus food waste, a materials exchange program for redistributing non-inventoried used equipment, and including more recycled content in materials purchased by the campus.

Lisa Bauer, operations manager of Campus Recycling and Refuse Services, called the upcoming summit "one of the most important days in my career here."

"Everyone is very hopeful," said Bauer. "There's an optimism about having all the major players on board, and having it be supported so much by the upper administration and the chancellor."

Bauer cited several new recycling initiatives already in the works. One is a set of enormous, well-designed recycling bins scheduled to make their debut on Sproul Plaza in time for Earth Day, April 22. Another will use worm castings produced by Berkeley Worms, in place of commercial fertilizers, on several test plots on campus. Berkeley is also in the process of executing a one-year contract, renewable for up to five years, for custodial tissue (towels and toilet paper) with a high recycled content, Bauer said.

ASUC President Teddy Liaw, who has been instrumental in planning the recycling summit, called the upcoming summit a "critical event in Cal's history."

Berkeley is known not only for academic excellence, said Liaw, but as "the home of political activism, social justice and global awareness." By beefing up its recycling program, he believes, "Cal can emerge as the leader in environmental responsibility for other universities to emulate."


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