Utilities - Sustainability
Integrated Waste Reduction and Recycling Partnership Programs
In October of 1998, UTMB started a partnership with Republic Services to handle our paper/cardboard recycling operations from the point of pick-up at our docks to delivery at the Recycle Center where it is sorted into three grades- standard office paper, mixed paper (magazine-type material), and corrugated cardboard (OCC). Since its inception, our volume of recycled paper materials, plastics, and aluminum cans have increased such that in FY11, UTMB recycled 29.65% of its total Municipal Solid Waste. The amount of paper goods recycled equates to saving over 14,500 trees. In process of producing the materials, we saved over 5300 barrels of oil, and 7.06 million gallons of water. The efforts of UTMB staff, employees, and students helped UTMB avoid filling landfills with over 3100 cubic yards of waste. The achievements would not be possible without a concerted effort by the staff, students, and employees on our campus, and the efforts of our Environmental Services Contractor to help transport the blue Recycle bags from the department to the docks, and to flatten out cardboard boxes for easy pickup and transport. In an effort to maximize the volume of recycled materials and minimize the volume of trash generated on campus, UTMB has expanded the program to include general contractors and sub-contractors involved in the removal of demolition and construction debris.
Galveston Partners in Composting
UTMB continues to partner with the City of Galveston, and Moody Gardens to convert the three entities’ landscape debris, broken/odd sized pallets, Christmas trees, and horse bedding into a mulch or compost for reuse in the beds throughout our campus. This program began with an initial $100,000 grant from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) for the purchase of a tub grinder. The benefits of this program provide significant cost avoidance as UTMB no longer has to purchase mulch for our beds from an external supplier, and surplus mulch is made available for free to our employees. Republic Services transports the landscape debris and broken/odd-sized pallets to the compost site in a 30-yard open top dumpster, and they return with 30 yards of the finished product for use around the UTMB campus. Recently, equipment acquisitions by the City of Galveston have enabled UTMB to begin recycling our Styrofoam waste. Styrofoam waste is collected in the same manner as the cardboard throughout campus, and housed at the Recycle Center. As needed, the City of Galveston picks up the Styrofoam , takes it to their site where it is melted down into small mounds of plastic. The ‘fluff’ of the Styrofoam is removed. With that, recyclers are able to greatly reduce the number of trips made to/from the island to send the material in for recycling.
UTMB’s Fleet Services
UTMB’s Fleet Services has partnered with the University’s recycling program to initiate supplier contracts to insure recycling of used materials generated from campus vehicle maintenance. Additionally, Fleet Services has worked to retrofit vehicles with alternative fuel systems, and has established new guidelines for purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles.