Western Washington University Student-Run Recycling Program

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 1971

Source File: http://recycle.as.wwu.edu/


In 1971, Western Washington University became one of the first universities in the United States to have a campus recycling program. The A.S. Recycle Center continues to be unique among its kind: it's student - run!

Every day, the A.S. Recycle Center collects 3,800 pounds of recyclables from Western's campus, continuing our commitment to reducing Western's waste stream and lightening our burden on the environment.

Mission Statement
The mission of the A.S. Recycle Center is to provide the opportunity for faculty, staff and students to recycle on campus, to educate the University community on the recycling process at Western, and to continually increase our collection efforts in order to reduce Western's waste stream. In addition to this, we provide student employment opportunities and work experience, specifically in recycling and waste management.

Western's Recycle Policy
From the G.O.L.D. Plan 1994 (Government Options for Landfill Disposal)

Western Washington University is committed to efficient, non-wasteful use of resources as evidenced by its Associated Students model recycling program. In addition, the University has developed the Government Options to Landfill Disposal (G.O.L.D.) Plan for waste reduction, recycling, and procurement of recycled and recyclable materials.

All departments, offices, and operations, including all Western faculty, staff, and students, will participate in achieving the G.O.L.D. Plan objectives.

History of the Recycle Center
In the early 1970s, a small campus recycling program - one of the first in the country! - was started by a group of Huxley students and University Central Stores. 1976 marked the year when the A.S. incorporated the Recycle Center and began its commitment to the program. Over the years, the A.S. has provided not only generous financial support, but has also gifted the Recycle Center with three trucks, two forklifts and a house to operate out of. Recycling not being the industry that it is today, it was necessary to sell the recycled goods to local companies. Georgia Pacific accepted the paper, while local businesses took the tin, aluminum and glass. The A.S. Community Drop Off Center aspect of the program also contributed greatly to the Recycle Center's funding.

In its beginning, the Recycle Center was run by ten paid students, who collected about 233 lbs. of recyclables from Western's campus every day. But as the years went by, the AS realized that there needed to be some continuity in leadership to maintain an effective Recycling program. So in 1987, a full time coordinator was hired to oversee the student managers and employees. This marked a great improvement in the overall productivity of the Recycle Center - student employees could come and go, but the ultimate goals of the RC would always be met.

Western's campus has grown a lot over the years, and in 1995 it was time to move the Recycle Center to a location more suitable for the large amount of recycling that was being processed. A new, larger building was built to house the Recycle Center. The old building, which was really just a small house located where the C lots are now, was partially recycled and the rest was burnt down as a part of fire fighter training.

Today, the Recycle Center employs one coordinator, three student managers and a staff of ten students. This group of fourteen is responsible for collecting 3,800 pounds of recyclables every day. Though a lot has changed during the past thirty years, our purpose remains the same: to provide as many recycling opportunities on campus as possible, thereby reducing our consumption of natural resources and our impact on the environment.