Sustainability Made Simpler

Sustainability Made Simpler

It really couldn’t be easier. New recycling stations have been positioned throughout UW1 and will soon be placed in every building on campus. The stations (made of 100 percent recycled materials) have three openings for waste in three categories:  landfill, compostable, and recycle.  If you are unsure which category your item is in, there are handy visual guides to assist.

"We have been working to increase our recycling for a long time,” says Tony Guerrero, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services. "Thanks to Sabrina Combs with the City of Bothell, we received a grant to install a pilot recycling station in the Commons, which we observed for three months. We found that students didn’t like to open the lid on a big container. So we cut holes in them.  But then we found that people didn’t know which container to put items in. We would see people looking back and forth at the holes trying to decide what item to put where.”

Thus far, the new recycle stations have been placed in the Commons and throughout UW-1. Eventually, they will be in every building on campus. Aside from reducing its carbon footprint, UW Bothell can benefit financially from reducing the amount of waste it sends to the landfill. UW Bothell has a contract with Waste Management, which charges the college only for the landfill waste it collects. Waste Management also picks up recycled matter from the college, but does not charge a fee. 

The bottom line:  The more the college recycles, the more it saves.

A Mighty Wind in the Bathrooms

The new air hand dryers in campus bathrooms save money and labor, Guerrero says. About 80 percent of the waste the college was sending to landfills was paper towels, which cannot be recycled.

"Including the cost of installation, and the savings we achieve by not buying paper towels, these machines will pay for themselves within five years.” Guerrero says.
He estimates more than 848,000 paper towels per year will be saved in UW1 and UW2 once the paper towel dispensers are replaced by the air hand dryers.

As any custodian knows, paper towel dispensers are a common target of vandalism and theft in any public bathroom. Fewer dispensers allow custodial staff more time to focus on cleaning.

Towels will remain in some areas, including staff lounges, kitchens and laboratories.

Please Don't Water the Grass

Guerrero and his team have been working for years to reduce the amount of water used on irrigation. UW Bothell uses a smart watering system which uses sensors to determine if watering is needed. "Most systems run on timers that turn on whether it needs to or not, Guerrero says. Our system won’t come on if it’s raining or already wet.”

As summer progresses, the college will save water and nurture the grass by deliberately not watering certain sections of grassy campus areas. “We are letting some sections of the grass go dormant over the summer. It’s not that we don’t care … it’s that we DO care,” Guerrero says.  Last year, the college saved more than 700,000 gallons of water by not watering the grass.