For the October 2014 Green Bag Sustainability Discussion Series, Dr. Doug Oetter, Professor of Geography, delivered a short history of recycling materials at Georgia College and led a group conversation about how to improve our recycling rate.
Recycling at GC goes back at least to 1990, when a campus-wide paper recycling program was initiated by then President Ed Speir. The program ran into difficulties with storage and reselling the paper. In 2004, the Environmental Science Club started a paper recycling project that lasted for six years, until in 2010, and new program was put in place by the Student Government Association. In 2013, the program was updated and improved by Facilities Operations to enable the campus to college even more material, and divert even less from the landfill.
The recovery rate for Georgia College remains very low, among the lowest in the nation for the schools that participate in Recyclemania, an annual competition for colleges and universities in February and March. Following Dr. Oetter’s presentation, a rousing discussion ensued, with suggestions on ways to improve our recycling rate:
- More signage at recycling sites
- Pair recycling bins with all trash bins, so that there is always an option to recycle
- Produce more educational materials, including videos for display on the Sustainability Council YouTube site
- Work with University Housing to educate the CAs and other staff
- Present to First-Year Academic Seminar classes
- Provide awards for recycling