Bins collect used devices

The University installed recycling bins for electronic devices on campus this month as part of its effort to become a greener institution.

Students can now use “e-cycling” bins to recycle used batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones and compact fluorescent light bulbs. The bins are located in Thurston Hall, Ivory Tower, the Marvin Center and West Hall.

To bring the bins to campus, the Office of Sustainability partnered with the Office of Health and Safety, which recycles the batteries and light bulbs through a hazardous waste contractor.

“It’s important to keep hazardous waste from landfills and incinerators. These bins provide an easy collection spot for students, faculty and staff to deposit their materials properly,” Sophie Waskow, sustainability project facilitator, said.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury and print cartridges contain carbon black, a possibly carcinogenic material. If not recycled properly, the pollutants can contaminate landfills.

The recycled cell phones are being donated to the Clinton Global Initiative University’s contest GW + Phones = Hope. The competition challenged the University community to collect 20,000 old cell phones by next month.

West Hall eco-rep Winslow Sheffield called the bins “a step forward on the University’s path to creating a culture of sustainability and recycling.”

Before the bins, students had to submit a FIXit request to pick up electronic waste. University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to provide a figure for total requests received because data is not sorted in that way, but said “the volume of requests have not been historically high for this service.”

GW’s eco-friendly practices have increased since University President Steven Knapp founded the Office of Sustainability in 2008. Last year, GW ranked No. 30 on the Sierra Club’s annual assessment of green colleges, a 27-spot spike from the year before.

The University is competing in the 2012 RecycleMania competition, which includes a contest for the e-CycleMania Recognition Award. At the end of pre-season week two, GW ranked No. 47 out of more than 300 schools. Results will be released in April.

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