HSU Noted for Waste-Reduction Efforts

On Wednesday, April 19, Humboldt County's Environmental Health Division recognized the waste reduction efforts of several local people and organizations, including both Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond and the Campus Recycling Program's ROSE, by honoring them with Waste Reduction Awards.

HSU President Richmond was present to accept the award for “most effective use of recycled materials” on behalf of the university. In 2005, Richmond issued an executive memorandum directing all campus departments to exclusively use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper for general printing and copying purposes, reducing the need for environmentally damaging practices associated with low- or no-post-consumer paper, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution created in the manufacturing, and also increasing the demand for recycled-content fiber, necessary to support recycling programs like the one at Humboldt State.

In California, HSU is the only known college or university to have taken this step.

This recycled-paper policy has already resulted in significant environmental benefits. By purchasing entirely 100 percent post-consumer-content paper, HSU annually conserves 1,205 trees, 348,775 gallons of water, 204,280 kilowatt hours of electricity (enough to power 23 average homes for a year), and prevent 2,990 pounds of air pollution and 104,485 pounds of greenhouse gases.

The HSU Strategic Plan says, “We believe individuals must be environmentally, economically and socially responsible in their quest for viable and sustainable communities.”

For continuing that goal, HSU’s Reusable Office Supply Exchange (ROSE) earned the award for “most effective reuse program.”

In 1996, the Campus Recycling Program realized there were a lot of office supplies going to waste — one department throwing items away, another department ordering new. Recognizing this waste was entirely preventable, students conceived the idea of the ROSE (Reusable Office Supply Exchange) program, which coordinates the retrieval, storage, and distribution of reusable office equipment and supplies, such as desktop organizers, staplers, pens, pencils, ink cartridges, envelopes, and file folders. The “store” is then open to all campus and local community members Monday through Friday.

In the fall semester of 2005, ROSE redistributed an estimated $7,362 worth of school and office supplies, or over 1,600 items, otherwise destined for the landfill. Ultimately, the program will also help conserve natural resources used to make the supplies.