2019 Recycling and Waste Management Awards

9 2019 Recycling and Waste Management Awards BUILD Sep19487 “We are adapting by making a big push into education to ensure better sorting is happening. Also, we have changed our routes to check the affected locations more often to capture mistakes and investigate the source. In addition, we have increased our “off record” audits to obtain the bigger picture. The requested audits are different than the ones conducted that are part of the RSO. The RSO audits are random and we only know after the fact.” One of UCSF’s largest innovations has been to develop an on- site recycling sorter programme. It was first in the UC System to develop the job description and was awarded a grant by the City of San Francisco for creating and sustaining the programme, which has now been established for five years and has proven successful in waste diversion and sorting. Another challenge faced by the university is that the West Coast states have been severely affected by China’s national sword policy, which has banned the importation of certain types of solid waste as well as setting strict contamination limits on recyclable materials. “The majority of plastics and paper are sent overseas from the West Coast as those were the most viable market for recycling various plastics and paper. With China’s tight restrictions in place, the recycling industry is scrambling as there is not another market that can take that volume of materials. “Despite this, San Francisco was aware of these upcoming changes and was able to find a different market for its materials. San Francisco even expanded what was accepted for recycling which is the opposite of what is happening for most municipalities on the West Coast.” The recycling markets are still volatile however and there are no guarantees that smaller markets will continue taking San Francisco’s recyclables, but UCSF’s waste hauler is always looking for more reliable solutions in case things do change. “State agencies are continuing to figure out the next steps - they understand the need to bring back those manufacturing jobs to the states but that is a long and arduous process with no finish line in sight. “From our perspective, we would like to move from generating all the single use disposable items back to re-usables all over campus. This will be a difficult undertaking as the culture in today’s environment is centered on ease. Like our programme name, Recycling & Waste Reduction, we focus on recycling but in terms of the waste hierarchy, reducing and reusing has a much larger impact than recycling. That will be the ultimate solution as we will be less affected by outside market influences.” Despite these obvious setbacks, Sean states that UCSF is optimistic about its future with the University in the bigger Uni- versity of California system, and California itself. “We are always in conversation with companies to find new solutions or to create better efficiencies in our current prog- rammes. “The culture at UCSF is orientated towards healthcare, patients, research, and education with emphasis in the health fields. Though sustainability is not always a high priority of the general population, though it is increasing, we do our best to represent our programmes. We try to make participating in our recycling programme as easy as possible. Some examples are keeping signage simple and straightforward or knowing what will be served at events so everything is compostable with compost bins available only. “In the recycling and waste management field, we work equally on all aspects - programme cost analysis, managing pick-ups, researching new markets for recycling, educating customers on sustainability and how to sort their waste, looking for new vendors that offer state of the art recycling containers, and conducting regular waste audits. “As part of the UC system, it is a collaborative effort as we constantly share our processes to spur ideas for others. We are all trying to move towards the same goal of Zero Waste. In terms of standing out, being in such a progressive city, there are start-ups and non-profits that we work with on new programmes. Creating multiple partnerships provides us with more options to test new projects or find new markets for items we have not been able to recycle or reuse.” Contact Details Contact: Sean Aloise Company: University of California, San Francisco Address: 525 Nelson Rising Lane #105B, San Francisco, CA 94143 Telephone: 415 476 8056 Web Address: www.campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu/facilities © University of California, San Francisco © University of California, San Francisco © University of California, San Francisco

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