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Recycling & Waste Reduction

Sustainability Goal

Increase our waste diversion recycling rate by 50% by 2030.

Latest Achievements

Electronics recycling. The college aggressively recycles computers, monitors, printers, fluorescent lamps, and other electronic equipment. Some 90 percent of these items are collected and taken to certified recyclers, locally based to minimize travel.

Building materials. During building and remodeling projects, demolition and construction waste materials are recycled to the greatest extent possible. As a standard practice, the college diverts more than 80 percent of construction refuse, including concrete, metals and wood.

Recycling education. A new recycling initiative launched in the fall 2016 semester grew out of a quality improvement project that evaluated the effectiveness of current recycling programs. A study found that of materials discarded, just 17.5 percent of the tonnage was recycled. A survey showed a need for communication and marketing to improve awareness of recycling. Elements of the new initiative include:

  • Wider distribution of recycling bins, including outdoor bins for each campus
  • Bin labels telling what materials can be recycled
  • Proper training of custodial staff on recycling
  • Updates to the recycling page on the college website

Bottled water reduction. Eleven water fountains (nearly half) on the campuses now have water bottle fillers, and more are planned in the near future, to help limit the prevalence of plastic water bottles.

Green printing. A college-wide green printing initiative has reduced amount of printer paper purchased by 53 percent, amounting to savings of 3,675,000 sheets of paper. The total volume of printing decreased by 5.97 percent from 2014-15 to 2015-16. Spending for employee printing decreased by 8.21 percent; spending on paper for employee and student printing decreased by 12.04 percent.

Plans for the Future

Waste diversion. The staff will collect and track data on the makeup of college waste materials. All campuses and facilities will be encouraged to recycle usable scrap metal, wood and other materials from instructional programs. Outreach initiatives will be developed for staff and students to encourage awareness of and participation in Gateway recycling programs.

Waste monitoring. The staff is developing a format and process for keeping accurate data on the amounts and types of material recycled and sent to landfill each year, as a basis for measuring and improving management of waste and recyclables.

Recycling education. Future components of the college’s education initiative include:

  • Educational posters and digital sign messages in common areas and Student Services
  • Recycling video featuring campus mascot Rudy the Red Hawk
  • Community engagement by way of events throughout the district

Life is Big. Be Prepared.