GW’s recycling numbers are on the rise since the University began using a new waste handler, Consolidated Waste Industries, in November, waste management officials said.
GW recycled twice as much of its waste from October to December than it did during the same period a year before, said Calvin Fishback, transportation manager for Facilities Management. GW recycled about 20 percent of it waste in December, a jump from about 10 percent in October, Fishback said.
Recycling numbers improved because GW no longer fully relies on students and staff members using separate bins for trash and recyclable material, Fishback said. GW sends some of its waste to Consolidated Waste Industries, which separates glass, paper and plastic from trash.
Three other waste management companies GW employs do not separate recyclables from trash.
GW sends Academic Center trash to CWI and could begin using the company for some residence halls by March, Fishback said. All other areas of campus rely on students and staff to use separate bins properly.
GW recycled about 114 tons of waste from October through December; a number higher than any three-month period since last January and almost twice the total for the same quarter of 1999, according to recycling statistics provided by Facilities Management.
The University has not decided to use CWI as its sole waste handler, and will continue to use BFI Recycling Systems, Paper Stock Dealers, Inc. and Prince George’s County Scrap Inc., Fishback said.
Fishback said GW uses several handlers because companies offer different rates for different materials and he wants time to assess CWI’s level of service.
“We’re looking at it to see what’s best for the University,” he said. “I want to compare what (other handlers are) paying us versus what CWI is giving us.”
Fishback said Paper Stock Dealers pays GW for recyclable materials while CWI only pays for what it can sell to be recycled.
While this payment may be less than what CWI offers, depending on the market for recyclables, it is guaranteed, he said.
“I don’t foresee us doing 100 percent with CWI because of the nature of the campus,” Fishback said. Unique campus locations such as Ross Hall, where byproducts of experiments must be disposed, make it difficult to have uniform waste handling for the University, he said.
Some residence halls, such as The Schenley, are still under building contracts with outside facilities managers and are not part of GW’s recycling program. Those buildings recycle on their own, Fishback said.
CWI charges GW to separate waste. GW will continue to use recycling bins to collect materials to try to avoid these costs, Fishback said.
He also said money CWI has paid the University for recyclables has helped offset the cost of transporting materials to the company, which the University is responsible for.
With the addition of CWI, GW started using clear bags to designate recyclables in the Academic Center and will begin doing so in residence halls and other campus buildings, Fishback said.
“If those bags are clear, they open those bags and pull out what they can’t recycle and give us credit for what we can recycle,” Fishback said. Fishback said the recyclable market is good right now, meaning manufacturers are purchasing recyclable materials to use in new products.
GW has also designed new recycling bins to standardize recycling across campus. The new law school facili ty under construction at 20th and G streets will receive the first redesigned bins, Fishback said.
GW student group Free The Planet! GW has focused its efforts this year on University recycling policies.
FTP President Jessica Frohman said GW should have a central office to handle recycling on campus and standardize recycling across campus, similar to the system in place at Georgetown, she said.
Frohman said that in meetings with GW officials, she and other FTP members were told that it is “not the administration’s duty to make sure students are educated about anything,” including recycling.
“Basically what they’re there for is to make sure we’re fed, we have a place to live that’s better than a cardboard box and that we pay our bills,” Frohman said. “Aside from that they don’t really care.”
Fishback said cooperation from all campus offices is the key to recycling success.
“Something that might work for you in one building might not work in another building,” he said. “We’re trying to get the basics across the board.”
Fishback described GW’s current system as “offshoots from a main committee.”
“What I’d like to see is more involvement from everyone,” he said. “For one person to man everything, that’s a job and a half.”
Frohman said GW does not make an effort to buy recycled products.
“If you’re not buying what you’re recycling, what’s the point?” she said. “You’re wasting.”
FTP began a campaign this year to encourage the University to buy more recyclable products such as notebooks and ink cartridges.
“Ultimately, in the long term of this campaign . we want to get more of the students involved,” Frohman said.