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E-cycling Bins Added in Four Locations on Campus
February 12, 2012
Hazardous waste materials can now be easily recycled.
George Washington University students can now dump their used batteries, light bulbs, toner and cell phones in four e-cycling bins spread across the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses.
Bins are located by the mailboxes in Thurston Hall, on the ground floor of the Marvin Center by the bookstore, in West Hall near Pelham Commons and across from the elevators on the residence hall side of Ivory Tower. The university will then ensure these products are disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
“Keeping hazardous waste out of the trash incinerator is very important,” said Sophie Waskow, sustainability project facilitator in the Office of Sustainability. “Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to dispose of their materials properly.”
The idea for the e-cycling bins evolved from a brainstorming session between Thurston Hall house proctor Adam Bethke and several freshman eco-reps. The students wanted to come up with a better way to recycle things like batteries, light bulbs and toner cartridges.
“They all leak dangerous chemicals into landfills and release pollution into the atmosphere, which is of course the last thing we need as a planet,” said Kelsey Desmond, one of the Thurston freshman eco-reps. “The bins are a way for students to be more environmentally conscious and eco-friendly.”
Before e-cycling bins, students could submit a FIXit request with the university’s Facilities Services to have their personal hazardous materials picked up.
“Why would you schedule an appointment to have someone come pick up your two used double A batteries?,” asked Mr. Bethke, a junior studying political science and criminal justice in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
GW's Office of Health and Safety and the Office of Sustainability paid for the four e-cycling bins, which will accept work or student-related e-waste. Acceptable items for the bins include fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury, batteries and toner. They will also accept used cell phones, which will go toward GW’s Hope + Phones = Hope campaign, which aims to collect 20,000 used cell phones and portable electronics by March. The phones will be recycled to fund maternal and child health mobile technology projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nepal.
“The Office of Health and Safety is pleased to support this program, as it increases our visibility in the university community and improves our ability to capture recyclable materials close to where they are used,” said William Flint, director of GW’s Office of Health and Safety. “GW has committed to recycling for many years, but dropping off CFL light bulbs, batteries and toner has never been this convenient. We are sure that the number of items collected for recycling will significantly increase in the coming months as more members of the community take advantage of the new recycling stations.”
Eco-reps will monitor the bins and notify Facilities Services when they are full.
Freshman eco-rep Michelle Stuhlmacher believes the e-cycling bins will help GW students develop lifelong eco-friendly practices.
“We are not just making GW more sustainable with the new bins, but we’re also instilling green practices in today’s generation,” said Ms. Stuhlmacher, a student in the Columbian College.
Students, faculty and staff should still submit FIXit requests for bulk pick-ups of hazardous materials.
“It may seem insignificant – throwing away a printer cartridge,” said Ms. Desmond, who is studying French in the Columbian College. “Yet, if every student in Thurston recycled just one ink cartridge each, we would prevent hundreds of tons of mercury and lead from being thrown into a landfill. E-cycling saves ecosystems.”