Recycling program may grow

The veterinary school has been a part of the pilot program for a year.

by Kali Dingman

 

The recycling rate in the College of Veterinary Medicine  has jumped about 10 percent since it began a pilot program aiming to improve and maximize its collection of waste.

The schoolâÄôs administration sought out the University of MinnesotaâÄôs recycling supervisor Dana Donatucci  because they wanted to play a larger role in recycling and waste removal. It sparked a unique recycling pilot project that may spread across campus.

The school and Facilities Management staff are trying to increase collection of organic or compostable materials, centralize collection and improve custodial efficiency.

Before the pilot began about a year ago, the school used normal waste bins. They have since added specifically labeled bins for organic material that can be composted.

âÄúTwenty-five percent of waste is organic,âÄù Donatucci said. âÄúPeople have nowhere to throw away objects such as apple cores and banana peels when they are in the buildings.âÄù

The organics waste basket is attached to the garbage waste basket in the schoolâÄôs buildings. There are also bins in the bathrooms for paper towels.

The second aspect of the project is to centralize collection. Instead of custodians coming by desks and picking up trash, students and staff must throw their waste in the central area where the quad system is located.

âÄúWhen people have the option, 90 percent of them will choose to separate their waste,âÄù Donatucci said.

The administration hoped to make it easier for people to sort out their trash.

âÄúWe wanted to make it so that people wouldnâÄôt have to think about what to do with them,âÄù custodial supervisor Phil Archer  said.

The project may also improve custodial efficiency. Facilities Management is looking for the best option in custodial work by trying to decide if custodians should clean and dump waste or if they should divide up the tasks.

Before they began the pilot project, Donatucci and his staff held a meeting with the students and staff of the veterinary school to educate them about the effort to sufficiently dispose of trash and recyclable materials.

He felt it was important to have the meeting with the students and staff so that all were aware of the efforts and would actively participate, he said.

âÄúWe wanted to get off on the right foot, and I feel weâÄôve done that,âÄù he said.

The project has been successful âÄî the recycling rate at the college has increased from 29 percent to 39 percent, coordinator Anna Arkin  said.

The school has also improved its disposal of No. 5 plastics from the labs.

Facilities Management hopes eventually to take the model at the veterinary school and apply it to other colleges on campus, Arkin said.