Baylor Expands Recycling Program to Include Athletic Events, Campus Offices

August 18, 2008

by Frank Raczkiewicz

"Going green at Baylor" is taking on a new meaning. In a continuing effort to greatly expand the amount Baylor University recycles, new recycling containers will be deployed at hundreds of locations around campus, including at athletic events, starting with the first Baylor home football game Aug. 28 versus Wake Forest.

Recycling bins will be placed at strategic locations around Baylor athletic complexes when a game is taking place. For example, at football games, nearly 90 temporary and permanent containers will be placed by food booths, sky boxes, concourses, suites, media offices and locker rooms. The containers will take all plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The university hopes to recycle at least 110,000 plastic bottles annually from athletic events.
In addition to the containers, food vendors will be requested to recycle cardboard boxes, clean paper and plastic as they prepare their booths prior to each game. After the event, cleaning crews will remove recyclables left over in stands. Prior to this program, sporting event stands were cleaned and all litter, including recyclable material, was sent to the landfill.

The university will offer recycling at football, basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis and baseball, with other athletic events to be incorporated at a later time. Only about half the universities in the Big 12 have a formal recycling plan at athletic events.

"Not only will this effort help prolong the life of the Waco landfill, but it will also serve to create a community of recycling awareness and create more litter free sports arenas following sporting events," said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of university libraries at Baylor, who acts as the University Sustainability Committee coordinator. "We expect to see great success from this program."

Baylor also will deploy hundreds of containers to offices around the campus. Over the next month, the first 400 containers will be placed in offices in the Baylor Sciences Building, Pat Neff Hall and Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building. Additional containers will be eventually placed in every building around campus, bringing the total to 600 containers in offices. The containers will be used to collect cardboard, white paper, colored papers, plastics, aluminum and tin cans.

Placing recycling containers in offices and at athletic events represented phase three of a four-phase recycling initiative. On Feb. 1, the initial phase placed 145 blue recycling containers in every campus residence hall that will take nearly every recyclable item, such as paper, colored paper, plastics, aluminum and tin. The containers are "single stream," meaning students do not have to sort the different items. The sorting is completed at Sunbright Disposal Services, a local processing plant. Phase two was implemented earlier this summer, which placed recycling containers in public areas around campus like the libraries, Bill Daniel Student Center and the McLane Student Life Center. Phase four will place containers at various outdoor locations around campus.

Estimates show that Baylor could triple the amount it currently recycles, from 160 tons per year to more than 500 tons, once all the recycle bins are in place. The new recycling initiative also will impact Baylor's bottom line. If the projected recycling numbers are met after all the bins have been placed, Baylor will save approximately $1,200 per month on landfill fees. In addition, Sunbright will pay Baylor about $1,100 per month for its recycled goods, meaning total savings could be nearly $2,500 per month, or more than $27,000 per year.

For more information, contact Pattie Orr at (254) 710-3200 or Carl Flynn at (254) 710-7620.