Starting a Recycling Program

I am really proud of the way the staff of the McGrath Health and Counseling Center embraced recycling. All of our staff is committed to the effort, and we now recycle approximately 50 percent of our waste. But that wasn?t always the case.

Just two years ago, many in our office bypassed the few-and-far-between recycling bins for the trash can. When I wondered aloud why this happened, I heard comments indicating confusion about what could and could not be recycled, worries about unsightly bins and empty pop cans attracting bugs, and a common disbelief that anything was truly being recycled.

So one day, after seeing food thrown in the recycling bin and empty pop cans thrown in the trash, I made a call to Stacy Decker of Physical Plant who, along with his other duties, is in charge of the University recycling program. Stacy sent me more cans (blue ones for each office) and large bins for our waiting room. He sent me a handout on what to recycle and what not to recycle. He contacted our cleaning contractor to emphasize needed training for custodial staff.

My boss was agreeable to putting recycling on our office staff meeting agenda. At our next staff meeting, we discussed proper recycling of material. With very little coaxing, all members were on board. After all, the staff of the HCC cares about the environment as well as making the world a better place for the next generation.

Our office staff made a commitment to recycling. We now find additional ways to green our office. We keep a tray by our fax and copy machines and reuse the paper when possible. We make double-sided copies as much as possible. We have replaced all light bulbs in lamps with energy-efficient bulbs, and we turn off lights when not in use. Step by step, we are moving to a more sustainable future. Potentially our next step could be the elimination of paper use in our office through the electronic medical record. But in the meantime, I may just put turning off computers at night on our next staff meeting agenda.

Mary Rosenfeldt
McGrath Health and Counseling Center