Co-mingled recycling is coming to the Downtown Phoenix campus

The DPC Facilities and Property Management team has found a way to overcome the space limitations and challenges of its campus footprint and introduce co-mingled recycling to the Downtown Phoenix campus. As part of an urban campus and vibrant downtown community, space is always a challenge and even more so when it comes to recycling. In April 2008, what started as a visibility effort for recycling, transformed into the introduction of a very visible and sustainable co-mingled recycling program for the campus with a novel idea from staff to flip the use of the trash compactors.

While less than visible efforts for recycling were already in place, we found that the bulk of what was being disposed of as trash were items that were recyclable. When the campus opened, we decided that compactors were the most cost efficient method to dispose of trash. Some buildings already had them, new buildings were being designed to accommodate them and plans to convert the balance of the buildings were put in place. Not in hind sight, but we built an infrastructure that would allow for a quick conversion of the primary use of compactors to be for co-mingled recycling rather than trash.

New recycle containers designed to be colored and labeled for paper, plastic and aluminum have been distributed throughout the DPC buildings in the corridors, vending and staff service areas. Blue desk side containers were distributed to offices/work stations that did not already have them. Even though the program is co-mingled, having bins that separate recyclable items helps to minimize the contamination from other waste that typically happens with the one container–recycle all concept, and educates the community at large of what can be recycled and what is actually trash.

Janitorial staff will empty the new containers and pick up desk side once a week as a start, in addition to regular trash pickup, making it easy for staff and faculty to participate. Smaller secondary dumpsters will be used for trash at buildings that do not have a second compactor. We anticipate an overall cost savings for the conversion as fees are less for recycling pick ups, we reduce the volume of trash that is being disposed and are working with one vendor for both trash and recycling.

We chose to make a strategic investment in recycling to further the sustainability efforts of ASU and the Downtown Phoenix campus. The co-mingled recycling program at the DPC will be fully operational by October 1, 2008.

Cathie Fox
Director Facilities Management