Drop an empty aluminum can into one of the scores of blue bins
outside of most campus buildings and where does it go?
Not into the ether, although those bins are almost magically emptied
on at least a weekly basis.
Nope, that can, along with thousands that look just like it, eventually
makes its way to Emory’s Recycling Center where it is stored,
baled, then delivered to a vendor where it begins its journey to
become a can again.
Key to this process, at least on campus, is the Recycling Center,
a 6,000-square-foot complex at the end of Peavine Creek Road where
literally tons of paper, glass, cardboard and other material is
saved from the landfill to be utilized once again in new products.
In fiscal year 2001, the center processed around 600 tons of material.
In FY02, that number is expected to increase by 20 percent.
“People are becoming more aware,” said John Scheve,
director of the center since its opening in 1998. “Especially
the students. Every year it’s great to see them come to campus
and really get involved.”
The center processes a variety of material: paper products, newspaper,
magazines, cardboard, glass, aluminum and even florescent light
bulbs, toner cartridges and scrap metal. After collection, the material
is separated (if colored paper is grouped with white paper it must
be removed by hand—a very tedious process) and some—paper,
cardboard and aluminum—is baled. Glass, separated by color,
and plastic are placed in 40-yard bins that surround the center’s
Vendors visit periodically to pick up the material, paying upwards
of $100 per ton for it. Yes, recycling is an environmentally conscious
activity, but it’s a business as well.
A new feature that will make the business side of Emory recycling
run smoother, and it’s one Scheve is very excited about, is
an accounting system that allows him to track the amount of each
recyclable processed each month as well as the location where it
was generated. Scheve said such a system will allow him to adjust
routes to cover high-volume areas more frequently and—if the
workload calls for it—may even result in the creation of a
As it is, the center has just four full-time employees and a couple
student workers who cover all of campus, Emory offices in Decatur,
the Clairmont Campus, Grady, Crawford Long and even Oxford College.
This fall, the center will add Briarcliff Campus to the mix.
Not only is Emory’s recycling program prominent on campus,
but it has earned a national reputation as well. WasteWise, a project
of the Environmental Protection Agency, named Emory as a Program
Champion—one of just three universities so honored—for
its achievements in waste prevention, recycling collection and use
of recycled products. The award will be presented in October in