Eighteen tons, or, more precisely, 18.7 tons; that’s how much the Clayton State University campus recycled from May 2011 to November 2011.
Maybe you can’t quite grasp the scope of 18.7 tons. Well, first of all that’s 37,400 pounds. It also equates to 318 trees saved, since one ton equals 17, 40-foot Douglas firs. Or, perhaps you think in terms of energy saved. Here, one ton equals 4,102 kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s 76,707.4 kilowatts. If you’re into preventing air pollution, a recycled ton equals 60 pounds of air pollution, so 18.7 recycled tons equates to 1,122 pounds of air pollution prevented. Finally, if you want to talk landfills, that’s 56 cubic yards of landfill space saved.
Thus, it seems safe to say that the Clayton State community continues to achieve significant progress in its recycling efforts.
In May 2011, the Clayton State Student Center and the Student Activity Center (SAC) buildings were selected to pilot a new single stream recycling program. A pilot for Clayton State, that is. Outside of the University, single stream recycling is a trend across the country in that it has become common in all types of business and institutions.
At Clayton State, this Business Operations sustainability program allows participants in these buildings to co-mingle all their recyclables into a single container for collection, processing and remarketing. The simplicity of having a single individual container for recyclables and the program’s ability to accommodate a wider range of materials has significantly increased the recycling volume – thus clearly leading directly to the 18.7 tons -- while also helping to reduce the overall waste collection costs across the campus. Participants are responsible for taking their non-recyclable waste to a designated central location for their work area.
“This is, quite simply, a program with many positives; it saves money, it has a positive impact on the environment -- 318 trees can’t be wrong -- and you can feel good that you’re doing something good, for both Clayton State and the community at large,” says Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary & Administrative Services Carolina Amero. “Plus, if you’re part of the single stream recycling effort, you can get one of those neat little green bags, which can be used for anything from bringing your lunch to campus, to collecting trash that doesn’t go into the recycling bin.”
Acceptable recyclable items include: plastic containers (grades 1-7); paperboard; aluminum and steel cans; spiral notebooks; all colors of glass; flattened cardboard; mixed office paper; newspapers, magazines, and even phone books.
“It is amazing at the small amount of actual trash/garbage we actually have left once we remove the recyclable items,” says Priscilla Foster in the Office of Financial Aid. “Single stream recycling is easy and I am proud to be a part of the process. It is a good example of when a little effort can make a big impact.”
“Single Stream recycling is great!” adds Clayton State Alumni Association President Benjamin Hopkins, operations coordinator for the Student Activities Center. “When we first instituted the process in the SAC we anticipated some problems, only to find that it is so easy. With few exceptions, it has been one of the easiest transitions we’ve made.”
“Recycling is a good thing to do for our environment,” says Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management Harun Biswas. “This is one of the green initiatives that Clayton State has implemented to help the environment. We cannot ignore recycling anymore. It helps conserve energy, eliminate the need for waste/land fill space, saves environmental conditions, reduces pollution, saves natural resources, benefits the University economically and much more.”
The multipurpose and administrative buildings at Clayton State -- East have also recently implemented the single stream recycling program. The plan is to gradually expand the program throughout 2012 to all buildings campus-wide.