UW News

January 6, 2005

Brainy campus campaign urges recycling

Sandwich boards proclaiming “Stop, think, recycle,” and squishy yellow “brains” scattered around campus mark the start of a UW Recycling campaign to promote placing paper and cardboard in the proper recycling container instead of in the trash.

The campaign is the result of a new Seattle city ordinance that took effect this week and prohibits recyclables in the garbage at both homes and businesses. The ordinance calls for education of consumers this year and next, followed by fines in 2006 if individuals and businesses do not comply.

The ordinance was prompted by the decline of recycling in the city, said Pat Kaufman, UW recycling manager. From a high of 44 percent in 1995, recycling had dipped to 38 percent by 2001. It’s a far cry from the 60 percent the city had set as its goal back in 1989.

As for the UW, recycling efforts have been strong but could be better. “A large portion of our waste stream at the UW is paper,” Kaufman said. “A waste characterization study conducted last year showed that 39 percent of the landfill waste produced by the UW is paper that could have been recycled.”

Thus the sandwich boards to remind people that cardboard and paper — and that includes newspapers, magazines, envelopes and sticky notes — can and should be recycled. And the brains? Well, anyone who finds one can either keep it or turn it in to the HUB information desk in order to place their name in a drawing. The prizes are well worth having. The winner of the Jan. 3–13 drawing will get two tickets to a Sonics game; the winner of the Jan. 14–27 drawing will get one ski lift ticket and one long-sleeve fleece pullover; the winner of the Jan. 28–Feb. 10 drawing will get one ski lift ticket and one travel mug; and the winner of the Feb. 11–24 drawing will get one 24 oz. smoked salmon, one travel mug and one t-shirt.

To make recycling easier for faculty and staff, UW Recycling is offering free Personal Recycling Bins for mixed paper. The bins are small enough to place under a desk but large enough to hold several days worth of paper. They will not be emptied by custodians, however. Those who have them must empty them at a bagit station. To get a Personal Recycling Bin, go to www.uwrecycling.com and click on the photo of the bin.

UW Recycling is hoping that campus people will do as the campaign requests — stop, think and recycle. Said Kaufman, “We all have to work together to meet the city’s requirement.”