B&G Paper Recycling Project Starts in Offices Next Semester

Harvard will implement a pilot paper recycling program in four office buildings early next semester.

The buildings likely to be included in the pilot project are the College Observatory, a computer center at 1730 Cambridge Street, Byerly Hall and Holyoke Center, Peter R. Merrill '76, the designer of the program, said yesterday.

Thomas F. Vacha, supervisor of Grounds for the Department of Buildings and Grounds, said yesterday that some parts of the University recycle high grade paper on a limited basis, but that there are presently no programs to recycle waste from entire buildings.

The recycling program, tentatively slated to begin in February, grew out of a B&G funded recycling study prepared last June by Merrill and Jeffrey S. Zax '76.

The program is designed to separate paper from non-recyclable wastes within the offices. The paper will then be sold to a company that makes roofing materials.


Vacha, who supervises solid waste disposal, said he reviewed the $500 study over the summer and decided to allow Merrill to implement a pilot project.

The four pilot buildings were chosen because the study showed they produce large amounts of garbage and have a high concentration of paper in their trash output, Merrill said.

When office workers in four of the five pilot buildings were polled for the study, 90 per cent favored recycling paper wastes.

The pilot buildings, excluding Byerly, produce four tons of waste each week, the study showed. Approximately 90 per cent of this refuse is recyclable, Merrill said, Harvard College, graduate schools and museums presently generate eighteen tons of waste per day, the study showed.

Harvard presently pays $8 per ton to dispose its waste and can receive $5 per ton for office grade paper waste that is recycled. Once an estimated $2,300 is paid. for separate wastebasket containers and the installation of a compacter-dumpster, the program should not cost Harvard more than it is presently spending for waste disposal, Merrill said.

Merrill said that once the logistics of the pilot project are successfully developed, he can show that Harvard will profit financially if the entire University recycles its office paper.

Small baskets for non-recyclable refuse will be attached to existing wastebaskets, Merrill said, and each will be collected on alternative days. The report says that janitors have reacted favorably to the idea of becoming recyclable even though the program may add some work to their jobs.

Merrill said that Harvard Ecology Action (HEA) will supervise the recycling project and will take a closer look at garbage collection in the four pilot buildings.

By the end of the semester HEA will begin public relations work to inform people about the value of recycling so that those in contact with the program will cooperate, Merrill said. He added that HEA is presenting the program because B&G is not well liked by office workers, and B&G identification could hurt the project.

MIT and Polaroid are the only other local institutions that recycle office paper, Merrill said. MIT, however, is using cardboard boxes as recycling containers and this violates the Occupational Safety and Health Act, he added