|Materials Management and Recycling|
Waste management for an institution the size of GCSU requires an extensive effort. Our campus disposes of about 750 tons of rubbish each year. According to national estimates, the typical school waste stream is 30% paper, 20% food, 23% compostable material, 10% plastic, and 5% metal. In spite of much of our waste being recyclable, GCSU does not currently have an institutional waste reduction or recycling program.
A briefing paper on GCSU waste management practices has been produced by the GCSU Environmental Science Club and others. It outlines the national and statewide goals of reducing waste and prolonging landfill space: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Opportunities for each of these are available at GCSU.
In 2006, the Environmental Science Club helped conduct a waste audit. It found that our waste stream is very similar to the national average. The typical stream contains a large quantity of recyclable paper, compost, and plastic. There were small quantities of aluminum, probably because individuals are recycling drinking containers already. Glass bottles and steel cans were also uncommon, since traditional kitchens are not available on campus. The trash that remained included plastic packaging, contaminated paper, food residue, and miscellaneous items.
Extrapolated over the course of an entire year, the GCSU waste audit indicated an opportunity to possibly recycle 500 tons of material over the course of a year, with a potential earnings of $41,000 in material sales, plus an additional $41,000 in savings from deferred waste hauling expenses.
Recycling at GCSU
In spite of great promise, recycling is not yet an institutional program at GCSU. Regardless, there are a considerable number of volunteer recyclers, who collect and process:
This briefing paper explores various options for creating a recycling program on campus:
Recycling in the Community
Baldwin County operates several recycling collection centers that accept plastic, aluminum, steel, cardboard, newspaper, and some take glass. This Recycling Guide shows the location of each site.
The City of Milledgeville contracts with Sinclair Disposal Services. If you live in the city, you can call and request a recycling bin.
Global Implications of Materials Management
Many people assume that the world is limitless, and that our Earth will continue to provide us with unlimited resources and environmental services. But most pragmatic thinkers recognize that the physical world we live in has absolute, physical limits. When the limits to growth are reached, the system must constrain itself or collapse. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is a way to stretch human society further without the inevitable collapse.
Policy recommendations for recycling at GCSU have been developed and passed by both the University Senate and the Student Government Association. Implementation of these recommendations is awaiting further action by the administration.
Additional policy recommendations for material reduction alternatives and increased use of recycled products are currently being developed by the GCSU Green Initiative Task Force.
GCSU Green Initiative
Campus Box 047 | Milledgeville, GA 31061
Phone (478) 445-7379 | Fax (478) 445-4009
For more information: email@example.com