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William & Mary launches expanded recycling program

  • Recycling
    Recycling  Curtis A. Powell (right; Associate Director of Custodial Services), Chris Durden (Director of Housing Operations), and John McFarlane (left; Associate Director of Grounds & Gardens) are coordinating the College's renewed recycling efforts. Facilities Management is adding about 1,000 more small recycling bins, as well as 17 larger outdoors receptacles. Residence Life will receive an electric truck similar to this one in September.  Photo by Irene Rojas
  • Electric trucks
    Electric trucks  The Vantage electric trucks cost less than $10 a week to run. Facilities Management already has three, and Residence Life is getting one in September.  Photo by Irene Rojas
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The College of William & Mary is launching a new program to greatly expand and enhance its campus-wide recycling efforts.

Beginning this month, faculty, staff and students will find a number of new large recycling containers across campus to collect paper, glass, plastic bottles and aluminum or tin cans. The enhanced program will also coordinate all indoor and outdoor collection through Facilities Management and Residence Life.

The new program, which includes a total investment of nearly $130,000 for the 2010-11 academic year, will be phased-in during the months of August and September and should be fully functioning by October 1, said Lynda Butler, co-chair of the Committee on Sustainability (COS).

"We are very pleased that the administration has decided to develop the College's recycling efforts into a comprehensive program," Butler said. "Widespread interest in such a program exists among students, faculty and staff."

Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs, said the new program is the result of a lot of hard work over the summer by members of the staff.

"This has been a great partnership between the staffs in Residence Life and Facilities Management," Ambler said. "We are delighted to be part of such an important effort."

Under the new system, 1,000 small blue recycling containers and another 100 "public" containers have been purchased for administrative and academic offices. Seventeen new blue "exterior" containers will be placed outdoors in addition to the 13 previously purchased by the Committee on Sustainability through the student Green Fees. The outdoor containers will be located next to existing trash containers in high traffic areas and will be serviced by staff from Residence Life using an electric truck purchased specifically for collection purposes, officials said. Larger blue recycling containers for glass and plastic bottles and cans only will be placed at the entrance to each building and receptacles for paper will be placed at copier stations, officials said. The office containers will be emptied twice a week (initially on Tuesdays and Thursdays) by custodial staff. Trash cans will be emptied on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The initial schedule may be adjusted in the future as more information is gathered about the actual quantities of trash and recycling generated per week.  Additionally, collection bins will be added to residence hall kitchens and other specially designated common areas in the residences.  These bins will be regularly serviced by recycling workers. Student rooms will remain equipped with small recycling bins so residents can take their personal recycling to one of the recycling dumpsters adjacent to the trash dumpsters located in close proximity to the residence halls.   

Previously, recycling at the College was fragmented, officials said.  Various buildings, such as Swem Library, William & Mary Hall, and Recreational Sports, had their own recycling programs, which relied on staff and students to collect recycling.  Student groups were responsible for coordinating recycling pick-up inside academic buildings and the thirteen outside containers.

"These programs became problematic during academic recesses as most students left the College for summer break and during the fall, winter and spring breaks," said Dennis Taylor, co-chair of COS and professor emeritus of marine science. "This is a major change for the College that represents a significant commitment by the Administration to ensure a comprehensive, year round recycling system well into the future."

William & Mary launched a campus-wide initiative in 2008 to improve environmental sustainability at William & Mary. In spring 2008, students elected to charge themselves a "Green Fee" that would go toward facility improvements, student grants for research on environmental issues and a "Green Endowment." In fall 2008, President Taylor Reveley appointed COS to administer the fee, which raises more than $200,000 annually. Today, the committee is one of the largest on campus and includes more than 100 staff, faculty, students and administrators in three subcommittees and 10 working groups.

Additional information on the new recycling program may be found at the Facilities Management or Residence Life websites.