Centralized Waste Hubs
Our Triple Bottom Line recycling program gave birth to a variety of new initiatives. Because the recycled goods were also helping a local organization, the Green Team was eager to ensure that the recycling bins were brimming. We had lots of questions, namely: “Do we know what is NOT making it into the recycling bins that COULD BE?” The team joked that the only way to know that would be to dive into the dumpster. As an environmental specialist for Herman Miller (HMI) , team member Dan Broersma had performed “dumpster dives” at HMI to determine whether waste was disposed of properly. If it worked for HMI, why wouldn’t it work for the GVSU Meijer Campus? One sunny morning in Fall of 2011, Dan, along with a GVSU faculty member, jumped into the dumpster and sorted bags of trash. The Green Team learned that nearly 90% of what was deposited in the landfill-bound dumpster could have been recycled, indicating the need for a new approach.
Dan informed us that when HMI sought to modify their practices, they implemented centralized disposal hubs that provided responsible options such as recycling and composting. He helped the team consider the possibility of doing something similar – removing individual trash and paper recycling containers from all offices and classrooms, and instead setting up centralized hubs on campus. The Green Team piloted this plan, conducted another dive, and found that the Meijer Campus had reduced the amount of recyclable material in our landfill bound container to nearly 20%.
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