Summer Reading: Rutgers Faculty and Staff Share the Titles They Can’t Wait to Tackle
Khaled Hosseini, Kate Atkinson and Sherlock Holmes make the cut for 2013....
Rutgers Computer Scientists Receive Google Grant to Develop Personalized Data Search System
Computer scientists Amelie Marian and Thu D. Nguyen received a grant from Google to develop a personal data search system that draws from social media pages, personal calendars, bank account information, email, Skype conversations and work documents, among other things.
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Rutgers: ‘800-Pound Gorilla’ When it Comes to Recycling
Single-stream recycling helps university win fifth straight RecycleMania Prize
Maybe they should just retire the trophy!
For the fifth consecutive year, Rutgers successfully took on all comers to capture the coveted Gorilla Prize for overall recycling in RecycleMania 2011, the friendly, nationwide competition for environmentally conscious colleges and universities.
By expanding a program started last year, Rutgers hopes to make its winning streak six in 2012.
An estimated 630 competitors participated in the 11th annual RecycleMania and recovered 91 million pounds of organic and recyclable materials during the 10-week spring event. Rutgers, helped by the introduction of single-stream recycling, recycled over 3 million pounds (3,057,867 pounds to be exact, according to official statistics), more than runner-up Stanford, No. 3 Harvard, and No. 4 University of California-San Diego combined, said Dave DeHart, associate director of Environmental Services and Grounds.
As always, DeHart and Director Dianne Gravatt, and their staffers are seeking new ways to spread the recycling gospel, especially to incoming students, not only to boost their totals but to also save the university considerable disposal and energy costs while continuing to improve the aesthetic environment on campus, removing unsightly dumpsters, minimizing the number of indoor receptacles and reducing plastic bag usage. Outside groups also benefit from Rutgers’ recycling prowess. For instance, Dining Services transforms food waste from more than 100,000 meals served weekly into cattle feed for local farmers, and this fall, DeHart will address the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh on “Rutgers’ Recycling Programs and Destination to Zero Waste to Landfills.”
“Anything above 90 percent is considered zero waste,” DeHart explained. “Our goal is to recycle 80 to 85 percent by 2015, and 90 percent by 2020. Last year, we recycled 67 percent of solid waste.”
To reach that exemplary goal will require a total community effort. “We constantly look for innovative ways to reach faculty, staff and students, especially newcomers to Rutgers,” said Gravatt. “We’d love to make recycling and a ‘Sustainable Rutgers’ a formal part of orientation to reach first-year and transfer students the first time they step on campus.”
Gravatt’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. The New Jersey Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services recently gave her its Sustainability Award for her commitment to environmental sensitivity and sensibility, and Rutgers’ continued leadership in recycling, waste management, and sustainable design and construction practices.
Over the past decade, the university regularly has added to its repertoire of recycling programs and technologies to reduce the waste stream and cut disposal and energy costs. Last year, Rutgers hit a recycling jackpot by successfully introducing single-stream recycling with help from vendors Waste Management of New Jersey and PepsiCo. The former placed 10 pairs of smart, solar-powered trash compactors in New Brunswick and Camden, and the latter introduced beverage container recycling kiosks to student centers.
“The compactors produce 35-to-40-pound cubes – five times as much trash as previously – and email our offices when it’s time for a pick-up, reducing labor and fuel costs” Gravatt said. “The PepsiCo machines reward recyclers with points redeemable for merchandise.”
More important, Gravatt’s department has made it easier for everyone at Rutgers to contribute to the cause by expanding its placement of desk side recycling containers that accept all co-mingled plastic bottles, steel and aluminum cans, and paper and cardboard products, including newspapers and office paper. Users drop dirty napkins and tissues into an attached side caddy and are encouraged to deposit leftovers in hallway containers emptied daily. After the custodial staff consolidates recyclables and trash in larger single-stream containers, Waste Management carts them to a special waste-handling plant for sorting and distribution to recycling manufacturing facilities.
“We’re making recycling as easy and widespread as possible,” Gravatt said. “Everyone can help us defend our Gorilla Prize in 2012 by just doing the right thing.”
The RecycleMania competition is a program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee in coordination with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). Program management for RecycleMania is provided by Keep America Beautiful in coordination with the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program. SCA Tissue, The Coca-Cola Co., American Forest & Paper Association, Waste Management and Alcoa Inc. provide sponsorship support.
Media Contact: Steve Manas
732-932-7084, ext. 612