The WSU recycle program was established in 1992 by President Warren Armstrong. A number of faculty, staff and students approached President Armstrong showing a strong interest in starting a recycling program. President Armstrong designated a committee to look into beginning a program of this nature. Through the work of this committee a volunteer program was established in 1992. At this time, office paper was the only material that the committee concentrated on in its efforts to recycle. Under the program faculty, staff and students accumulated the office paper at their work stations and then transported the paper to one of four dumpsters located around campus. This process worked well the first three years, which was shown by 57, 65 and 77 tons of paper being recycled respectively.
In 1995 the recycle program was expanded to begin recycling more materials. In addition, funding was approved for the construction of 41 recycling centers, placed in campus buildings, making the recycling program more accessible and convenient. The centers were able to store office paper, mixed paper and aluminum. The centers allowed faculty, staff and students a place to put their recyclables without leaving the campus buildings. Installing the indoor centers nearly doubled the volume of campus recyclable materials to 126 tons.
A recycler position was established in 1996 with the sole purpose of servicing these centers on a daily basis. This full-time employee was responsible for daily emptying the recycle centers located in campus buildings, handling the extra recycle pick-up requests, and hauling, then baling cardboard from four or more sites on campus. He also separated plastic and aluminum beverage containers, separated newsprint and magazines, hauled newsprint, magazines, aluminum and plastics to Weyerhaeuser, and performed other recycle tasks. In addition, that person continues to be a vital part of the Landscape Maintenance Department’s ice and snow removal team.
In 2012, the recycling role expanded to allow for changes in the WSU Recycling Program.
The full-time recycler is obviously a busy individual! His routine equipment includes a utility vehicle, a dolly and a cardboard bale. He has part-time use of a skid-steer loader, a forklift, pickup trucks and a dump truck.
In 1996, office paper was dropped from the recycling program due to the market, and our recycler no longer accepting that particular mix. To compensate for this, the recycler began accepting magazines and newspaper. Changes were made to the recycling centers in the buildings and plastic was added to the aluminum signage.
In 2012, WSU transitioned to One-Stream Recycling in all the buildings on campus. This change generated 137.1 tons of recycle material in 2012 and 150.63 tons of single stream recycle material in 2013 (paper and cardboard). These numbers will vary due to activities and changes to campus.
At the present time, the centers will now be able to handle office paper, newspaper, magazines and beverage containers of aluminum and plastic. The program has continued to increase its volume of recyclables, thanks to the efforts of all the faculty, staff and students who are participating.
Programs have also been established for the recycling of phone books, campus directories, wood and steel.
The recycling program helps students, faculty and staff defer the following items from area landfills: paper, cardboard, plastic drink containers, aluminum, newspaper, magazines, hard-bound books, batteries, tires, motor oil, brush (turned into mulch for beds on campus), compost (from leaves, grass clippings, collected coffee grounds, plant material from floral beds), pallets reused or turned into mulch and various metals.