Posts tagged ‘recycling’

Recyclemania: Push towards the end!

As the end of the Recyclemaina competition nears, USF is currently ranked 54th out of 260 competing Universities in the overall Grand Champion category.. With a cumulative recycling rate of 35.79%, we hope to have a bigger push these final two weeks. In the Organic foods services category we are currently ranked 4th overall. Great job Dons and remember. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

For all 2010 results see


March 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM Leave a comment

Recycling push puts Berkeley’s budget in dumps

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 (SF Chronicle)
Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer

Berkeley’s $144 million budget is in the trash can – literally.
In a $10 million deficit announced last week, the single biggest factor –
$4 million – was a decline in its refuse revenues.
The city says, in part, that it’s a victim of its own success. Residents
pride themselves on aggressively recycling and composting, so they’re
switching to smaller, cheaper trash cans – the only collection for which
the city charges.
“The whole business model for recycling and garbage has been to
incentivize recycling,” said Andrew Clough, the city’s deputy director of
public works. “We’re going to have to do a new business model.”
The recession is altering the economics of garbage around the country,
according to refuse companies in San Francisco and Alameda counties.
With people buying fewer toys and trinkets, there’s less packaging and
cardboard waste. If a business fails, there’s no trash to pick up. With
construction lagging, there’s less debris at the transfer station.
“Not only does the amount of garbage change with the economy, but the very
nature of garbage changes,” said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology
Sunset Scavenger, which handles garbage, recycling and compost for San
But the issue hits Berkeley particularly hard, because it’s one of only a
few cities that still does its own garbage and refuse pickup.
The construction industry collapse has played a big role in the reduction
in drop-offs at the local dump, decreasing Berkeley’s revenues by 15
percent even though it hiked the transfer station rates by 10 percent in
Struggling businesses account for another 15 percent decline.
And residents, switching to smaller bins, have caused an additional 8
percent revenue decline.
They are people like Lucy Mahaffey.
After years of paying for a 32-gallon can, Mahaffey’s family of four
switched to the smallest can, 13 gallons, two months ago. Because they put
food waste and many food containers into the compost bin, and sort out
recyclables, almost all that’s left over is plastic bags.
“I felt funny going to the smaller rate,” said Mahaffey, 47. “It’s the
same amount of stuff going out – and trucks and garbage people required to
take it away.”
In a year’s time, Berkeley’s residents and businesses have increased the
amount diverted from landfills from 61 percent to 66 percent, said Ken
Etherington, the city’s manager for solid waste and recycling. They still
trail behind San Francisco, which last May reported a 72 percent diversion
Because Berkeley provides its own service, it lacks funds to buy many
technologies required to recycle even more products, like certain plastics
or concrete.
The economics of recycling has always been subsidized by commodities’
resale values. But those also collapsed over the past year. Paper went
from being worth $187 a ton in July 2008 to $46 a ton in January 2009 and
$116 a ton in December 2009. Aluminum went from $1,908 a ton to $679 to
$1,200, Clough said.
What to do next hasn’t yet been decided, but it will be the subject of a
special City Council meeting at 5 p.m. today. Included among the
short-term plans to bridge the budget gap are an extension of a hiring
freeze, giving employees voluntary time off without pay and deferring
capital projects.
Residents were socked with a 20 percent rate hike in August, so Clough
said his department would be looking at cutting costs and improving
efficiencies first.
“So much waste isn’t going to the landfill,” Clough said. “But there’s
still a significant cost to move that material from the resident.”

The original article can be found here on

February 18, 2010 at 11:59 AM Leave a comment

Keep it up USF!

RecycleMania is underway at USF, with the university hoping to top its 4th place finish in the Food Service and Organics recycling category and 60th place finish overall nationally in 2009. RecycleMania runs through March 27.

Let’s keep USF’s new zero-emission electric Zap recycling truck and Facilities Management’s Mirrain Polanco busy loading and unloading recycle carts for transport to USF’s recycling compactor for the competition.

Photo by Joe Murphy

February 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM Leave a comment

SF’s locals making money at Paper Rush Co. recyling center


By:Alissa Figueroa” December 3, 2009

The sun rose lazily over the Paper Rush Co. recycling center on the industrial outskirts of the Mission on a Tuesday morning in November.

Before its rays reached the pavement, a procession of men and women with shopping carts piled high with soda cans, beer bottles and newspapers pushed their cargo down Cesar Chavez.  They moved surprisingly fast over the crumbling sidewalks that snake above and under James Lick Freeway and Bayshore Blvd to their destination on Jerrold Avenue. At Paper Rush they would help deliver some of the thousand or so tons of recyclables processed each day in San Francisco.

Click HERE for full article

December 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM Leave a comment

University of San Francisco: Building Green Buildings

The University of San Francisco plans to build a 60,000-square-foot science center on its main campus, the latest upgrade of the school’s aging facilities.

The $60 million Center for Science and Innovation would be built at the south end of the 42-year-old Harney Science Building, near the school’s War Memorial Gymnasium off Golden Gate Avenue.

Construction of the building, designed by the architectural firm NBBJ, is slated to begin in May 2010.

The Center is designed to be USF’s first LEED certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), targeting a Gold level rating for exemplary sustainable design. The new facility will:

  • Generate 40,000 kWh of energy per year with solar arrays
  • Use renewable and recycled building materials
  • Maximize use of natural air and light
  • Store rainwater for use in landscape irrigation
  • Feature a green roof, covering an advanced computational studio, to naturally cool the building while reducing run-off

The Center for Science and Innovation is the next step in USF’s ongoing march to sustainability. In the first months of 2009 alone, the USF campus has:

  • Increased solar power generation six-fold
  • Moved to capture 75% of recyclable material from campus waste
  • Placed 3rd in a national campus recycling contest sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Launched “trust the tap” to eliminate plastic water bottles from campus.

Specific challenges are:

* A lack of informal study space for students,

* A lack of appealing and usable outdoor gathering spaces. and

* Dated, aging architecture.

The Center for Science and Innovation will address these challenges directly. Far from “just another building,” the project will completely reimagine the current Harney Plaza, providing a two-tiered commons with an inviting atrium sunken into the renovated and “greened” upper plaza. While still accommodating a host of student events for the university, the new flexible design promises a “living room” for campus. Meanwhile, approximately 15,000 square feet will be created for informal student study and gathering spaces. These spaces will vary from contemplative hideaways for individual study, to high-traffic areas more suitable for group work and events. Most importantly, the Center will make a bold, future-focused architectural statement in the core of USF’s lower campus. This will elevate the university’s external reputation and make a more sophisticated impression on prospective students and other visitors.

Check out the CSI blog and website to stay up-to-date on their new endeavor.

November 4, 2009 at 1:24 PM Leave a comment

Cradle to Cradle Products

C2C Certified

C2C Certified

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) products are becoming more and more popular (thank goodness) and incorporate using recycled materials, helping us to get one step closer to being waste free. McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC. (known as MBDC) are the folks currently issuing C2C certificates for manufacturers of everything from roofing materials to baby products. Certification criteria includes using safe and healthy materials; using water efficiently for production, and instituting socially responsible strategies. Hopefully, there will be thousands of products added to this list in the next 3-5 years.

Click Image to view list of current C2C certificate holders

October 21, 2009 at 1:18 PM Leave a comment

S.F. composting, recycling becomes law Wednesday

Alexa Franz, a fifth-grade teacher who rents an apartment in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, had a little surprise when she went to take out her recycling recently – a new, shiny green composting cart.

“It kind of just appeared one day,” said Franz, 25. “I was taking the recycling out, and there it was.”

Welcome to the new reality in San Francisco, where landlords and property owners are scrambling to comply with a mandatory composting and recycling law that takes effect Wednesday.

The law, the most comprehensive in the country, is an aggressive push by Mayor Gavin Newsom to cut greenhouse gas emissions, return carbon to the soil, and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020.

Mandatory Composting and Recycling in SF

Mandatory Composting and Recycling in SF

The ordinance, with some exceptions, requires every residence and business to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash.

Failing to properly sort refuse could result in a fine after several warnings. But city officials say fines, starting at $100 and potentially escalating to $1,000, will not come for months and will initially be levied only if homeowners repeatedly refuse to even sign up for composting bins, which are supplied to residents at no extra cost.

There is a moratorium on fines until at least July 2011 for tenants and owners of multifamily buildings or multi-tenant commercial properties to get people used to composting.

Demand for the wheeled green bins has soared since the ordinance was signed in June, said Robert Reed, a spokesman for the city’s waste collection companies, both subsidiaries of Recology, formerly Norcal Waste Systems.

“We’re delivering over 100 green carts a day,” Reed said. “A year ago that would have been 15 or 20 a day.”

Recology has doubled the number of trucks delivering the carts in the past year and has hired more customer service workers to handle requests, he said.

In June, only 22 percent of the city’s roughly 9,000 large apartment buildings composted. Since then, the number has jumped to 37 percent, Reed said.

“That’s progress,” he said.

The amount of material turned into “San Francisco gold,” compost that cuts down on methane emissions from landfill, returns carbon to the soil and is prized by farmers and vintners for its rich nutrients, has grown in the past year from 400 tons a day to about 500, Reed said.

“You can see that this is already working very effectively,” Reed said.

Landlords are concerned tenants could ask the rent board to lower their rent by arguing that mandatory trash sorting amounts to a decrease in services, a theory city officials rejected because the new requirements apply universally.

One downside to the composting push is how long it takes to get a green cart. The wait is currently two to three weeks.

But don’t sweat that Wednesday deadline if you’ve already requested a composting cart.

City officials plan on engaging in extensive outreach, rather than fines, at least through the new year, said Jared Blumenfeld, head of the Environment Department.

“It’s about a dialogue,” Blumenfeld said. “As we’ve always promised, we are not going to start off fining people. … Really our focus is to make sure tenants have the tools they need to recycle.”

For more information, visit

How to get composting and recycling carts

Residential customers in San Francisco can get composting or recycling carts at no additional charge. To request a cart, call your waste disposal company.

Recology-Sunset (formerly Sunset Scavenger): (415) 330-1300

Recology-Golden Gate (formerly Golden Gate Disposal & Recycling): (415) 626-4000

Starting today, Recology also plans to accept online requests for composting carts at Your account number is required to order one online.

If you’re a tenant and you want a composting cart, contact your landlord. If the landlord refuses to act, call the city’s Department of the Environment: (415) 355-3700.

Additional information can be found at:

E-mail John Coté at

October 20, 2009 at 11:25 AM Leave a comment

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University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

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