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Pilot program recycles newspapers

Physical Plant has expanded campus recycling with a pilot newspaper program that began earlier this month in Buildings 1-8, 10 and 11.

Containers for newspapers are located in the first-floor lobbies of Buildings 7, 8 and 10, and at the junctions of Buildings 2 and 6 and 5 and 1. Members of the community are asked to bring their discarded papers to one of those locations.

"We will evaluate the collection program for a couple of months, and then decide what modifications are necessary," Jennifer Combs, grounds services coordinator in Physical Plant, said.

Tonnage of white-paper recycling has fallen from a high of 17.5 tons in October 1991 when the program began to about eight tons per month. A major reason for the fall-off is contamination of recycle baskets with non-recyclable material. When that happens, Ms. Combs said, the baskets are emptied as trash.

"When the tonnage was up, the return from recycling paid for the cost of the program-vendor and container costs" Ms. Combs said. "Now it does not." She urged the community to remember to recycle whenever possible.

In addition to paper, Physical Plant also recycles scrap metal, pallets and leaf and yard waste. Some 325 tons per year have been recycled since the program began in 1990. "Ideally we would compost the yard waste ourselves, but we have no space to do it on the campus," Ms. Combs said.

Other campus groups within Physical Plant's recycling program include the Campus Activities Complex, Food Service and the Office of Laboratory Supplies that now has a baler for recycling cardboard. The Housing Department has its own recycling program.

"Altogether, the campus produces 400 tons of trash a month," Ms. Combs said, "so the more we recycle, the more we remove from the waste stream." If you have questions or need recycle baskets, call Ms. Combs at x3-7671. Housing inquiries may be made to Jack Corcoran, x3-2863, or to Bailey Hewitt, x3-5963.

A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 26).

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