June 18, 2007 -- The University of Virginia’s recycling program has received the Virginia Recycling Association’s top award for colleges and universities.
The “Excellence: Outstanding University Program” award was presented to Bruce C. “Sonny” Beale, operations supervisor of the Division of Recoverable and Disposable Resources, at the association’s May 2 luncheon for in Williamsburg. It is the 16th recycling award the University has received since 1994.
“It is really exciting to be recognized by your peers,” said Cheryl L. Gomez, utilities director for Facilities Management. “The dedication of the faculty, staff and students to recycling makes this a University community-wide award.”
The University recycled 4,882.3 tons of material in 2006, Beale said, reducing the amount of landfilled trash to 10,153 tons.
“We’re trying to be the flagship, be the best,” Beale said. “We do the best and we want to get recognized.”
Recycling earns money, which offsets some of the landfill cost. The University received an average of $62.58 per ton for recyclables—including paper, cardboard, metal and all plastics except Styrofoam—in 2006. The University pays about $37.80 a ton to landfill unrecycled waste.
Beale believes an additional 40 percent can still be pulled from the waste stream.
“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We’re talking with the students and the athletics department to recycle athletic shoes. We want to recycle all lamps, get better participation from the students and get more recycling containers in the John Paul Jones Arena.”
Beale is also looking anew at composting, an idea that comes up frequently. Some energetic students are working on it, he said, and Earlysville’s Panorama Farms has agreed to take the food waste. Food waste is heavy because of its moisture content, and eliminating it from the waste stream would further reduce the University’s landfill bill.
“We’re continuing to try and improve on a daily basis,” Beale said.