Photos from bottle promo

Photos are up at our facebook site from our bottle promotion (!/uagreenscene).

Those stopping by to answer trivia questions did very well! I think approximately 75% of people came away with a prize.  We’re not giving out answers here because we plan on doing more contests over the next few weeks.



Promotion tomorrow

Welcome back everyone!  We have a new addition on campus  –  a bottle return machine!  This is located in the campus center food court, lower level near the SEFCU branch.  We’re excited about having the opportunity to offer the campus community a place to bring their bottles and cans.  Plastic and aluminium only though.  Slips need to be redeemed at the Outtakes store.

We’ll be having a promotion tomorrow (Thursday) from 12 to 1 pm.  Look for the tweets from our office and UAS.  We will be broadcasting out trivia questions related to recycling (like do you know how many hours you can run a TV from the energy saved by recycling one can?).  Stop by with the answers and win a prize.  There will also be a chance to enter a raffle and win a year’s supply of Coca-Cola.

Hope to see you all there!!

New happenings

With many people gone, we are turning down the temps here so if you come on campus, dress warm!!  This is the third year of our intersession shut down, a time when we save a lot of energy and money.

We’ve also gotten two new pieces of equipment.  Our first hybrid bus has arrived.  The drivers are undergoing training so it will be operational for the spring semester. If you are in Albany over break, look for it down Western/Madison avenue.

We’ve also taken delivery of a bottle return machine.  This is located in the campus center near the SEFCU branch.  This is currently getting set up to accept plastic bottles and cans.  Monies can be redeemed at Outtakes.  This should be fully operational at the start of the spring semester.  So start collecting those returnables!!

Eating local

We are about to release our end of semester bulletin for the fall and in it I talk about a new source of buying local products: the Helderberg Market.  I posed this question to the readers of the bulletin and will repeat it here.   What is your favorite spot to purchase local produce?

Sustainability week

Next week will be action packed with lots of sustainability tips and activities.   The UAlbany Sustainability Council has been working hard to put together a week full of events.  Each day will feature tabling in the LC concourse between 10 am and 4 pm.   Stop by to see the different exhibitors, enter raffles and try the bin shoot to win some prizes.  Lil’D will be by on Monday to calculate his carbon footprint.   Each evening there will be a movie at the quads (list below).  The week will wrap up with a discussion forum on Friday at 3 pm in University Hall 110.  Hear Professors Delano, Kleppel and Robinson along with our Energy Officer Indu discuss the ways they incorporate sustainability into their lives.

Here is the schedule of events listing each day’s theme and the groups tabling

Monday – Human Impact Day

Albany Country Stormwater Coalition

Cascades Recovery Systems

Campus Greens

Lil’ D doing his carbon footprint

Movie night: 7 pm Indian Quad penthouse, National Geographic Human Impact

Tuesday – Green Energy day

No luck here, just the sustainability group tabling

Movie night: 8 pm Tuscarora Conference room, Kilowatt Ours


Wednesday – Transportation day


Connect by Hertz

UAlbany Shuttle

Free raffle for an IPod!!

Movie night: 8 pm Colonial Quad penthouse, The Lorax

Thursday – Conservation day

Wow Green Now

Friends of the Pine Bush

Movie night: 8 pm State Quad penthouse, Ferngully

Any questions, contact the office at 956-8120

Sustainability Office Tours County Waste’s Single Stream Recycling Facility

NYSAR3 Region 4 members (UAlbany is a member) visited the County Waste Single Stream Recycling Facility on October 22, as part of its regional meeting.  Mary Ellen and I attended. County Waste collects the University’s commingled recycling. It also services any off campus students in the Albany area. This means the facts about single stream recycling that follow pertain to off campus students rather than on campus. If on campus you still need to separate your recyclables. The owner, Scott Earl, led the tour.  At the entrance to the facility is a large live feed video screen that will be used as an educational tool for school groups and other parties that don’t go into the facility. There is a conference room nearby where groups can meet and talk with facility managers.  That is where NYSAR3 had its meeting. On the tipping floor, trucks dump the recycling loads where large fans help dry any items that are damp. Large rigid items such as plastics and metals are removed by hand if seen.  Plastic bags are also removed by hand.  The plastic bags and rigid plastics are placed in separated bays to be sorted and processed Sundays.  The rigid plastics are baled while the bags are ripped opened and processed accordingly. The materials are fed onto a conveyor belt and go through an initial picking line where several workers pull the remaining plastic bags and any shredded paper and drop them below into separate bins. The material then proceeds over an initial set of “star screens,” which are a series of parallel rollers with star-shaped knobs every few inches, and holes sized for specific types of materials in between. At this first set of screens, glass bottles are crushed by the knobs and fall through the small holes into a bin, where the glass be shipped out as crushed aggregate. The remaining materials (primarily paper, cardboard, and plastic) are lifted up and passed the screens and progress down the line. The second series of screens sort out the plastic containers which fall through to the plastic sorting stream. Plastic containers are currently being stored until the “green eyes” optical scanner system is on-line in the next couple of weeks; this system will sort the plastics by color and type. The cardboard then comes out at a second picking line. The remaining fiber stream now consists almost entirely of paper, which is sorted through a final time to remove most of the remaining contaminants. Contamination is very low – the residual rate is about 3% (compared to a 9% national average for single stream facilities).  Key contaminants are PVC pipe, vinyl blinds, garden hose, and small amounts of crushed glass in the fiber stream (up to 2% glass shards are allowed).  Plastic lids and caps are allowed in this system and aren’t considered contaminants. Hardcover books and pizza boxes are accepted as well.  For some recycling facilities soiled pizza boxes aren’t allowed because of potential pests, but the fiber is baled so quickly and sent out that it is not a concern (just remove the wax paper and shake out the box). Materials are baled and shipped out to national and international markets.For materials going overseas, they take pictures of the truck when it is one-quarter full, half full and full and send them to the buyer of the bales.  The buyer pays half of the cost based on market price and quality of the truckload from the digital pictures.  The rest of the payment is made upon receiving the material. The facility currently receives about 500 tons/day of materials, five to six days per week, and is operating at a process rate of 18-20 tons per hour (maximum rate is approximately 35 tons/hour). The facility operates during two, 10-hour shifts (one shift employs 40 workers and the second, 36), and there are four hours of maintenance in every 24 hour period.

All in all it was a very informative interesting tour. Thanks to Scott Earl and County Waste for hosting, and thanks NYSAR3 for organizing.

-Bill Valleau   Graduate Assistant

Recycle your electronics

One of the more anticipated events on campus by faculty and staff is the annual electronics recycling collection event.  That day is almost upon us….. this Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm, Elot recycling will be in the State Faculty parking lot to collect any old electronics you may have.   Personal property only, any state property needs to go through equipment management and recycled through the university.

The motto is “anything with a plug”.  Most items are free but there is a fee for TV’s ($35) and computer monitors ($7).  All hard drives will be wiped by the company but any personal information on cell phones or other devices should be removed prior to bringing the items to the event.  Also accepted are complementary electronic items such as computer disks, CD’s, VCR tapes, etc.

Any questions about the event should be directed to the office of environmental sustainability at 956-8120.

See you on Wednesday.

Mary Ellen