Baylor sustainability proves it’s successful

By Leigh Ann Henry

Recycling has more than doubled since 2007, rising from 7 percent to 18 percent. The amount of recycled materials has increased from 160.3 tons to 443.4 tons due to an increase in the number of recycling receptacles in buildings, and residence halls and trash cans around campus.

A report summarizing Baylor’s sustainablity efforts was released Monday and included data from the three years since the sustainability committee’s inception.

The eco-friendly actions of the sustainability department have saved millions of sheets of paper, nearly tripled the amount of recycled material on campus and more than doubled the diversion rate, which is the amount of waste being reused instead of going to landfills.

Pattie Orr, vice president of information technology and dean of university libraries, serves as the chair of sustainability and spearheaded the creation of the sustainability department.

Orr said when she arrived at Baylor, she noticed paper being wasted due to a lack of duplex printers. At that time only 5 percent of printers on campus had duplex capability, so everything printed on campus was printed on only one side of the paper. Orr began working to increase that number.

“A lot of money and paper could be saved on campus by using duplex printing,” Orr said.

In 2007, about 21 percent of all print jobs on campus utilized both sides of a sheet of paper, and by 2010 that number had jumped to 61 percent.

In addition to saving paper, Orr said she also helped inspire the recycling movement.

“I noticed I would be walking around campus carrying water bottles and didn’t really have anywhere to put them,” Orr said.

There were a few recycling receptacles in certain buildings and trash cans for recycling, but she began campaigning for additional recycling options.

This is the first progress report that has been published by the sustainability department, and it highlights each of the last three years individually.

“One of the things the report shows is that there was exponential growth from 2007 to 2010,” Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator at Baylor, said. “Things have really turned around on campus, and a lot of positive things have been happening.”

The report highlights the accomplishments of everyone who has assisted in the sustainability effort.

“So many volunteers have helped on all the projects we’ve done; it’s nice to tell them what happened and how they contributed through the years,” Orr said.

Through the actions of the sustainability department, Baylor has experienced some changes in age-old traditions such as Bearathon going green by removing disposable cups and Diadeloso eradicating all paper applications for events by using online applications.