November 15, 1999
Volume 52, No. 12
New shredders cut into Emory's recycling effectiveness
Emory has put together an award-winning paper recycling program, but if departments continue to purchase a certain type of paper shredder, future awards may be harder to come by.
According to staff at the Recycling Center on Peavine Creek Drive, the confetti-like scrap produced by crosscut paper shredders is virtually unbaleable and even damages the center's equipment, making it necessary to throw the paper away. Traditional "spaghetti" shredders don't pose a problem, but balers cannot capture the tiny crosscut pieces.
"We're having to throw out six to eight bags a week," said recycling coordinator Elaine Gossett, adding that her office has tried other methods to accommodate the crosscut shreddings, to no avail.
College senior Marcy Yeshnowski, who's worked for Emory Recycles for three years, said the problem began to show itself at the beginning of the summer and seems to be growing. She said she's noticed the crosscut shreddings coming from bigger buildings like the Dental School Building, the School of Public Health and the Chemistry Building.
Gossett said she's tried to contact building operations people to alert them of the problem. "We're trying to get the word out that if people want their paper recycled, please don't purchase a crosscut shredder in the future."
Ironically, the problem arises just as Emory Recycles is receiving the 1999 Best Paper Recycling Award from the American Forest and Paper Association. And the National Recyling Coalition awarded Emory the honor of hosting the 2000 regional conference of the College and University Recycling Coalition, to be held Feb. 14.
"The [AFPA] award reflects the efforts of everyone at Emory," Gossett said. "What's made the difference is the Recycling Center itself."
Officially opened in April 1998, the Peavine Creek facility serves as both depository and processing plant for Emory recyclables. The center bales the recyclables and sells the bales to a vendor; last fiscal year the program collected $28,000 in revenue and saved the University another $25,000 in landfill fees.
The program has grown in just the 19 months since the facility opened; it now recycles plastics, cardboard, magazines, laser toner cartridges and even tires from the Facilities Management fleet. Over the summer Emory Recycles sited numerous wrought-iron pedestrian recycling containers around campus, and this fall it expanded the University's in-room recycling program to all residence halls and theme houses. Emory's fraternity houses now are equipped with 95-gallon outdoor carts for recyclables, and in-room recycling bins will soon be provided in sorority lodges.
Emory Recycles has also started marketing the Recycling Center to the surrounding community, offering it as an alternative for neighborhoods and/or apartment complexes that do not offer recycling pickup. Yeshnowksi said local apartment managers have been very receptive.
"We do get a fair amount of drop-off material now; part of it is just getting people to know about it," she said.
In fact, the only thing keeping Emory Recycles from climbing to even greater heights is the volume of recyclables it receives, and Gossett said she is more than willing to work with University offices and departments to provide whatever services they need.
"We source-separate at Emory-we have containers for each recyclable we collect, and we encourage people to use the right containers," Gossett said. "Different buildings have different recycling personalities, and if people will just let use know what they need, we'll try to accommodate them."
For more information, call Emory Recycles at 404-727-1796 or visit <www.emory.edu/FMD/web/Recycling/recycling.html>.