efforts ahead of schedule
ability to turn trash into, if not quite a treasure, then a marketable
commodity has put CSUS ahead of the recycling game.
in for campus recycling
Part of the CSUS recycling program’s success is due
to staff and faculty doing their part. “Folks have been
pretty supportive, especially as we’ve made it easier
to use,” says Roger Guzowski, coordinator of recycling,
solid waste and moving services. “We can set up the
infrastructure for the program but it takes participation
in order to be successful.”
He offers some suggestions and reminders regarding campus
When purchasing supplies look for recycled products. Office
paper, files, envelopes, notepads, etc.—many items
made from recycled materials are available. To make recycling
effective, recycled products need to be purchased.
Planning a big clean out of files? Call the facilities management
department and they’ll bring over large recycling
containers for the excess material.
Use paper wisely: Use both sides when possible. Utilize
used paper for scrap paper. Print out only what you need.
Recycling bins are only for office paper. No paper towels,
paper cups or paper plates—even if they’re clean.
Although the programs are pretty similar, not everything
that’s recyclable through the city or county is recyclable
through the CSUS program. For more details, check container
labels or visit the recycling website at www.fm.csus.edu/recycling.
Bring empty recyclable beverage containers outside to collection
clusters instead of throwing them away. Indoor beverage
collection bins are not feasible because they attract pests.
to a 1999 California state mandate requiring all state agencies
to divert 25 percent of their waste by 2003, and 50 percent by 2004,
the staff at CSUS put their ingenuity to work and as a result the
campus is just steps away from achieving that goal nearly a year
early. “We’re hovering at about 50 percent diversion,”
says Roger Guzowski, CSUS coordinator of recycling, solid waste
and moving services. “We’ve come a long way and we’re
definitely ahead of schedule.”
Recycling began on campus more than 20 years ago as a small student-run
program. However, to satisfy state mandates, a new efficiency had
to be developed for the recycling program, as well as a major rethinking
of past efforts. In 1999, the recycling program was moved under
facilities management, resulting in one department being responsible
for both recycling and trash collection.
“What we’ve done is look at the biggest components of
our waste stream,” says Guzowski. “It’s primarily
office paper, landscape waste and bulky behind-the-scenes material.”
He defines waste stream as “everything that we throw away
and everything that we would have potentially thrown away if it
had not been recycled, composted or otherwise diverted.” The
University receives diversion credit from the state for what it
recycles or composts and for waste reduction.
The office paper recycling program was overhauled in 2002 to a more
efficient, user-friendly program. “Because paper is the largest
component of office waste, we started handling paper the same way
we handle trash,” Guzowski explains. Blue desk-side recycling
bins, purchased with a grant from the California Integrated Waste
Management Board, were placed throughout offices campuswide.
“We’ve made it so that it’s just as easy to participate
in the recycling as it is the trash. We’ve changed the custodial
schedule in offices from five days a week trash pickup to Monday,
Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday are now recycling pickup
days. The custodians still empty only one bin per desk per night,
so there’s no increased cost to the campus or increased labor
for the custodians,” says Guzowski.
In 2000, CSUS diverted 106 tons of office paper to recycling. In
2002, that increased to 165 tons. And a cardboard recycling program
that began on campus last year collected almost 30 tons of cardboard
from academic and administrative buildings.
In the past, the University’s expansive lawns and abundant
trees greatly contributed to its waste stream, but not any more,
Guzowski says. Campus ground crews now gather the landscape waste
and bring it to a local compost-making center. In 2000, about 300
tons of landscape materials that once would have gone to the landfill
were sent to the compost center. In 2002, that amount increased
to over 600 tons.
little-known element of the recycling program is the collection
of “behind the scenes” waste, primarily junk furniture
and broken computers, says Guzowski. Discarded furniture is first
examined to see if it could possibly be used elsewhere on campus
or could find a home at the State of California’s surplus
office equipment “store.” If neither option is viable,
a student assistant dismantles the furniture, separating out parts
to be sent to a scrap metal yard. In 2000, CSUS collected 23 tons
of scrap metal. In 2002, the amount increased to 73 tons.
Broken computers from campus are shipped to a computer recycling
company in Sacramento where they are taken apart for useable components
and scrap metal. In the 2002-2003 fiscal year, 11 tons of computers
were sent for recycling.
While the recycling program effectively diverts CSUS’ waste
stream it also provides the University with cost savings. For example,
the waste hauler contracted to CSUS sells the collected recyclable
paper and in exchange, the University receives credit on its hauling
bill. The same applies to the cardboard collection. Beverage container
recyclables from the outdoor bins are collected by the Sacramento
Local Conservation Corps, saving CSUS both staff and hauling expenses.
In 2000, CSUS spent almost $76,000 in trash hauling and landfill
fees. By 2002, that amount was down to $72,000 even with “a
pretty good jump in student population,” says Guzowski.
Guzowski says the campus waste diversion efforts are especially
important during these tight budget times. “We’ve got
choices on where we spend our money. We can spend it on landfill
fees or spend it on academics,” says Guzowski. “It makes
sense to recycle as much as possible. As we go forward, I think
the savings we’re looking at are going to be even more dramatic.”
Department-initiated efforts to encourage recycling and waste reduction
are making a difference too. The primary computer labs, for example,
in an effort to reduce paper use switched to a fee-for-printing
system. A three-ton per year reduction in paper use resulted. And
by bringing reusable cups to campus food service operations, beverage
buyers have spurred a 1.5 ton reduction in disposable cup use each
For more information, check the newly updated CSUS recycling website