Emory Report

April 20, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 29

New center takes Emory recycling capacity to next level

For the first eight years of Emory's recycling program, whatever recyclables were collected on campus were gathered together and then shipped, at the University's expense, to off-campus processing centers. No more.

With the unveiling of its new recycling center April 22, Emory not only will greatly increase its capacity for receiving recyclables, it will begin to generate income from processing them. Located on Peavine Creek Drive at Candler Field, the recycling center is equipped with a conveyor system and baler to do the processing for which Emory previously had to contract out. Now the University is set to handle much of its recycling needs, along with those its neighbors, if need be.

"I would like to see people in the community surrounding Emory feel free to bring their commodities to us," said Elaine Gossett, Emory recycling coordinator, who is contacting neighborhood organizations to let them know the center is available for use 24 hours a day. "We have a row of carts out just before you get to the center that are labeled-three colors of glass, newspaper, white paper, aluminum and tin cans."

The new center has been a goal of Gossett's since she came to Emory three years ago. At a cost of more than $200,000, it's capable of handling all of the recyclables Emory currently collects, and Gossett has plans to add plastics and "mixed paper"-colored office paper, manila file folders, etc.-in the next few months.

The University recycled almost 440 tons of materials in fiscal year 1997, including 188 tons of white ledger paper. Baled white ledger currently sells for about $155 a ton, newspaper for $20-30 a ton and cardboard for $65-75 a ton. As to how much income the center will be able to generate, Gossett said it's difficult to predict because of the nature of the market. "Recycling is an industry that's in its infancy," she said. "Three years ago you could sell white ledger for $400 a ton, and you saw a lot of people jumping on the recycling bandwagon. I've seen a little more stability in recent months, but it's still not an industry you can make a call on."

Aside from revenue, each piece of recycled material helps reduce the amount of waste the University sends to a landfill every year. So far in fiscal year '98, recycling has diverted roughly 10 percent of Emory's waste stream at a savings of more than $30,000. In FY 97 Emory produced 3,887 tons of landfill waste (not including hospital, biomedical or construction and demolition waste) at a cost of nearly $175,000, Gossett said. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of that waste is office paper.

"My goals are waste reduction, whether it be by recycling or reuse, or simply by using less commodities in the first place," Gossett said. "Using more electronics for communication would be a good method. Double-sided copies-if we can convince people that copies are just as pretty if they're printed on two sides of a sheet as one-all those things come into play."

In addition to the half-dozen students who work in the office and help coordinate collection of recyclables in residence halls, Gossett will get a second full time staff person later this month. Facilities Management staff will continue to pick up material from the recycling kiosks around campus.

"We're just beginning to make some strides with the completion of this building," Gossett said. "I really think it will be the turning point in the recycling program here. It will enable us to take in a lot greater quantity, and it will enable us to generate a lot better quality product to sell."

President Bill Chace is scheduled to speak at the center's open house on Wednesday, April 22, at 3 p.m. Shuttle service from central campus will be available. Call 404-727-1796 for more information.

-Michael Terrazas

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