Campus undertakes a recycling revolution
April 22, 2008 -- The campus community's recycling efforts diverted 77 percent of its waste from landfill last year, surpassing the goal of 75 percent that the City of San Francisco hopes to achieve by 2010. Newly implemented innovations on campus such as single-stream recycling, the addition of composting, building materials recycling position the University to exceed all previous records.
A new Web site created by students and campus waste management staff outlines the brave new world of campus recycling practices. The "GatoRRRRRs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Rethink" site was designed by environmental studies students Drew Foster and Will Rutledge. It features the growing list of recyclable materials, gives links to recycling resources outside of the campus community and outlines other ways to reduce the campus' carbon footprint. Caitlyn Fager, SF State's recycling coordinator, recommends that everyone visit the site regularly to view developments in SF State recycling practices.
The latest change to come to campus is that any cups or other plastic items bearing numbers one through seven inside the recycling triangle symbol, can now be recycled at SF State. Previously, only plastic items numbered two, four and five were accepted by Sunset Scavengers, San Francisco's waste management and recycling center.
The new single-stream system of recycling office materials introduced on the SF State campus this year allows plastic, glass, aluminum cans and paper to be placed in the same receptacle. Staff and faculty in the Administration building and Thornton and Hensill Halls are already implementing these changes in the way office waste is sorted for recycling.
"We've started with these buildings as our 'best practices buildings,'" Fager said. "We plan to gradually implement the same changes in all the other buildings as funding allows."
Eventually all deskside wastebaskets on campus will be replaced by large, blue recycling baskets with small black baskets attached for nonrecyclable materials. "The contrast in size between these new receptacles gets the visual point across that we should recycle more than we throw away to landfill," Fager said.
SF State has also begun a compost program this year. Eco-students worked with the Cesar Chavez Student Center management to provide compost bins and encourage students to recycle their biodegradable table waste. Student housing has partnered with the City Eats student dining facility and campus facilities staff worked with the Vista Room restaurant to establish systems to compost kitchen waste.
The campus recycling program has also added building materials to the items that are routinely recycled. Old blinds, concrete, wood and other materials from building renovations on campus are now being collected and are expected to increase SF State's total weight of recyclables this year as the demolitions of the Lakeview Center and Franciscan buildings progress.
Share this story: