University approves broader recycling program

Lugging piles of newspaper, aluminum cans and glass bottles to campus recycling sites will become a thing of the past for most Emory community members this year, thanks to a proposal recently funded by the University that will dramatically expand the scope of the Emory Recycles program.

In the nearly six years since Emory Recycles was created, recycling at Emory has been a predominantly decentralized endeavor. White office paper has always been the mainstay of Emory Recycles, and white paper collection has been centralized as the main component of Emory Recycles' mission since the program's inception. Emory Recycles white paper containers are located in almost all campus buildings and are serviced routinely by the custodial staff.

When it comes to the recycling of other materials, however, faculty, staff and students have "done their own thing," for the most part. Recycling containers for newspaper, aluminum and glass are scattered throughout the campus, and many community members have made hauling those materials to recycling sites part of their routine.

According to Recycling Coordinator Elaine Gossett, that's all about to change. Last summer Gossett submitted a proposal to the administration to increase the number of recyclable materials collected in campus buildings through the existing Emory Recycles program for white paper. The program now will include building-based recycling sites for mixed office paper, newspaper, magazines, aluminum, glass and corrugated cardboard that will be serviced by the custodial staff. Recyclable materials collected from the buildings will be taken to a common drop-off site on Peavine Creek Drive near Candler Field (where large bins for telephone book recycling have been located for the past three months).

Gossett said the expanded program "will allow us to have more diversity in the materials we recycle and make it a lot more convenient to recycle than it's ever been in the past." A good deal of trial and error will probably have to take place before Gossett will know how best to serve each individual building. Many locations will be given standard curbside recycling bins used by many city and county governments in metro Atlanta to start them off. If those prove inadequate for individual needs, Gossett said, larger containers will be provided and/or the area will be serviced more frequently.

Scrap metal recycling also is available at a site next to the Facilities Management parking lot just off Peavine Creek Drive. Gossett said community members are welcome to bring scrap metal to the site, but that she should be contacted in advance to receive appliances containing coolant, such as refrigerators or air conditioners.

As for the newspaper dumpsters and BOBO containers for glass and aluminum located across campus, Gossett said they will remain in place for the time being until she has reliable data on University-wide recycling trends under the expanded program. Placing the dumpsters and BOBOs in areas with high pedestrian traffic is one eventual possibility, she said.

The University approved an operating budget of more than $37,000 for the recycling program. That amount was prorated for the final six months of 1995-96, and should be approximately twice that figure for all of 1996-97. A one-time capital budget of $100,000 was also approved to construct a small processing facility next to the existing drop-off site for cleaning and baling of the material.

Gossett credited President Bill Chace and the administration with making the expanded program possible and for ensuring that "Emory has a sound recycling program." She also said the infrastructure for such a program would not be in place without the efforts of Tom Pruett, director of waste management in Facilities Management. Until Gossett was hired a year ago, Pruett oversaw Emory Recycles on an informal, voluntary basis in addition to his regular duties.

Faculty and staff who want more information on the expanded recycling program may contact Gossett at 727-1796.

--Dan Treadaway

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