WSU Recycling Wins National Award

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Recycling Program has received a national award for the university’s efforts in recycling. The program received the National Recycling Coalition’s Outstanding School Recycling Program Award for 1998.
Wayne Gash, manager of WSU’s Material Resource Services, said it would be difficult to know which effort by university personnel swayed judges WSU’s way.
“There are so many good things going on in recycling at the university,” he said. For instance, there’s Food Service. The dining centers recycle more than 80 percent of their waste.
University Publications and Printing uses recycled paper in more than 75 percent of its projects. Clients must request other than recycled paper.
WSU’s compost facility is a model for agriculture schools that must solve animal waste disposal problems.
Environmental Health Services has an online chemical exchange. “Instead of buying a chemical, a department can find another unit that might have a supply. This cuts down on the amount of extra chemicals that must be stored,” Gash said.
Facilities Operations’ recycling efforts serve the university well. The unit recycles oil, refrigerants, tires and antifreeze.
Judges, too, had to be impressed with the 24-page application wrapped with a recycled, 1998 colorful summer session catalog cover.
Many employees work very hard to improve WSU’s 10-year recycling effort that now reaches almost 41 percent. “Even though we recycle 40 percent, 60 percent of the trash that we take to the landfill is still recyclable paper,” Gash said. “However, with faculty and staff support, we can improve the percentage a great deal.”
The award is a special one to the recycling staff. “I am very proud that we were nominated by another school — the University of Oregon — for the recognition,” Gash said. “Many other programs are very impressed with the fact that we are self-sustaining.”
The WSU program generates all of its operating revenue. “Every increase in recycling is more support financially for the program,” Gash said. And the program’s efforts pay off for the university. During the last four years, the program saved WSU more than $160,000 in landfill fees. WSU still spent $187,000 last year to landfill 1,200 tons of recyclable paper.
Gash’s goal? Steady improvement certainly, but in the back of his mind, he remembers the state of Oregon program. Oregon state employees recycle 80 percent of their total recyclable wastes.
“We may be the best of the best, but we can do better!” he stressed.