By Rosanne Fohn
|Mike Charlton, Ph.D., (left) and Mike Gilmer from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety hold the 2012 WasteWise Partner of the Year Award.
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The UT Health Science Center San Antonio has received a national award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for reducing campus waste. The university received the 2012 WasteWise Partner of the Year Award in the College/University category after receiving a runner-up award for 2011.
“Data is submitted during April for the previous year’s accomplishments, so this award reflects the campus activities for 2012,” said Mike Charlton, Ph.D., assistant vice president of risk management and safety, whose Office of Environmental Health and Safety manages and submits the data to the EPA on waste collection.
WasteWise encourages organizations to reduce municipal solid waste through waste prevention, recycling and buying or manufacturing recycled products. WasteWise partners have saved thousands, even millions of dollars, in purchasing costs and waste disposal fees by reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste materials.University, Green Initiatives Committee start single-stream recycling program
Mike Gilmer, environmental protection manager, said that one of the Health Science Center’s major accomplishments was the establishment of a single-stream recycling program. “Although the entire university contributed to this award, the Green Initiatives Committee (GIC) also deserves some recognition because it initiated some new recycling efforts that were not in effect in previous years,” he said. Benefits to the university and the environment
Through its recycling efforts during 2012, the Health Science Center:
- Saved 2,608 40-foot trees from being cut down
- Saved 773 cubic yards of landfill space from being used
- Avoided $8,202 in landfill costs
- Saved 119,593,834 gallons (367.02 acre feet) of potable water on the Long Campus, Greehey Academic & Research Campus and at the Medical Arts & Resaerch Center by using nonpotable, recycled water provided by SAWS for landscaping and at the central energy plants
- Recycled 58,303 gallons of oil
Implementation of program
|Darrell Maatsch (left) and John Amos encourage the UT Health Science Center community to embrace reusing, recycling, saving water and contributing to a sustainable environment at the Go Green Fair in April. Click on photos for a larger view|
John Amos, campus architect and chair of the GIC, explained, “Last fall we initiated a pilot program for single-stream recycling in the Briscoe Library and then expanded it to the School of Medicine. We announced at our Go Green Fair April 19 that the single-stream recycling program was going campuswide on the Long Campus. This means that all acceptable recyclable items
can be put together into the large, blue recycling dumpsters around campus
, once the food waste has been removed. We eventually plan to expand the program to some of the other campuses. Team effort
“This was a major effort and we thank everyone on campus for participating in the single-stream recycling program,” Amos continued. “Several others on our committee need special recognition for their help in implementing the single-stream recycling effort,” he said. They, include:
- Selma Morales, assistant director of Housekeeping and Event Services, who prepared the custodial staff for the change to single-stream recycling;
- The custodial staff for their assistance in taking the recycled items to a centralized recycling dumpster on the Long Campus.
- Medical student Jessie Sandhu, who developed fliers for the containers and wall posters, and worked through the Student Government Association to involve the students;
- Jonquil Feldman, M.S.S., AHIP, assistant director of the Libraries and her staff who volunteered to host the first pilot project; and
- Darrell Maatsch, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives in Facilities Management, who collaborated with local environmental agencies to adopt the slogan ‘Blue is the new Green,’ to familiarize the campus with the recycling program.
The WasteWise program has a broad and varied membership that reflects the makeup of corporate America. More than 1,100 organizations have joined WasteWise since 1994, demonstrating their leadership in finding cost-effective ways to reduce waste. WasteWise partners include many of the country's leading manufacturers, retailers and service firms, spanning more than 50 different industry sectors. The program also services federal, state and local governments, tribes, and other non-corporate institutions.