Doug Greenwood Interview Transcription
B: I guess we'll start. Maybe just say your name and your position here at UMD.
D: My name's Doug Greenwood. I'm a Principle Building and Grounds Supervisor with Facilities Management here at UMD.
B: Alright Doug. What policies are in place concerning waste management as of now?
D: There is a university wide policy you can find in what's called the UWide Library online. Under operations and health and safety, there is a waste management and disposal policy for the management of waste.
B: And that's across all campuses?
D: That's university wide, correct.
B: What about within UMD? Is there any department-to-department enforcement of how they handle their recycling and their trash?
D: We give them guidelines of how to handle their trash and recycling. It's a voluntary issue for them. If we see there is a lot of recycling in the trash stream, my job is to go and discuss that with the departments and see if we can't get better participation with recycling.
9:40B: As far as the guidelines you give them, is there any encouraging towards recycling with the paper and such, because you are the one that gives out the recycling bins, correct?
B: And it's all kind of standard out of that?
D: Right, and um, we encourage individual participation and the departments participation in the recycling, and using correction waste stream procedures. For example, electronic waste needs to be collected and diverted separately, as well as cardboard. We also have a means of recycling and destroying confidential documents.
B: As far as the hazardous waste from the sciences, do they handle that on their own or is that part of Facilities Management?
D: Facilities Management does not handle the hazardous waste. That's done through the environmental health and safety office on campus. There's very many rigid rules and procedures for the laboratory waste that's on campus.
B: Um, Concerning waste management, has there been any changes over the past years in policy?
D: In the past year, because we have changed vendors who take our recycling, we've gone from sorting out things like magazines, um, colored paper, white paper, to a single, what do we call it, to a co-mingle recycle products. Basically, all recycled products are going into a singe sort system. We still separate out beverage containers from the papers so we can reduce the contamination of the paper.
B: Who or what group of people are in charge of making the policy changes concerning things like the contracts with recycling companies and who we bring our garbage to, is that administrative, or...
D: I oversee the contracts as far as solid waste and recycling. I work with our purchasing department because there's, you know, legal terms, as well as a code of conduct as far as purchasing is concerned when it comes to contracts that we need to observe. So between purchasing and myself, and now our sustainability coordinator, we work together on making sure that we have good contracts and get the service and the information that we need as well.
B: What brought about the contract change that recently took place?
D: The contracts expire and then they go out for bid again. So that's why sometimes we would change vendors.
B: Um, Now about our recycling contract. Do we have the same company for our recycling and our waste?
D: Our solid waste and our recycling contracts both were awarded to the same vendor. That was through a bidding process. The same vendor was a successful bidder in both contracts, because they are separate contracts.
B: Um, How big is the compactor that we saw?
D: It's, um, 18 cubic yards of compacted waste that we put into there.
B: It looks a lot smaller than I was guessing it to be.
B: Does it get emptied out a lot?
D: Twice a week we have the compactor emptied.
B: Does it go to the landfill twice a week or..
D: It goes to WLSSD. It gets emptied there. At WLSSD they then broker the trash to wherever the landfills are or whatever entity may use it for energy purposes or whatever.
B: So it doesn't always go to the same place?
D: I'm not sure what WLSSD does with it. I think, last I understood was that it was going to a landfill in Wisconsin.
A: So if we had more questions about where it went we would contact them?
D: They would be able to help you with that, yeah. Cause that's where all of Duluth's solid waste would go.
B: Oh, so it's the same for the entire city.
D: The city, yep.
A: Do you know how responsive they would be to students doing a project?
D: I think you'd find them very cooperative, because you know they like to get the word out about how waste is managed because the more knowledge is out there for everybody to understand the more we can handle our waste and handle it in more appropriate ways.
16:00B: So you were talking before a little bit about working with Mindy Greenley, Granley, oops, combined your names. What projects or just talks about projects have you got going on, or that are being done right now to increase the sustainability of our campus and the waste that we put out.
D: Well I do believe Mindy has recently been working with a group to establish and make labels for our recycling receptacles around campus so its clearer to people what can go into what container because we have older labeled container that say "cans only" or "aluminum only" and with our new contract as of last July we can take plastic, aluminum, and glass in the same container now. So we are working on the labeling and I think that will make it easier for people to recycle. And also going to a one sort system for recycling paper people don't have to from their desk go sort white paper, colored paper, and glossy paper into different bins so I think that we'll have better compliance from simplifying things as well.
A: And then, does it, it gets sorted at the location it gets brought to? So it's just easier for the people who do recycle here and then it gets separated there.
D: Yep. It gets, um, the recycling gets compacted here in a truck when it gets picked up. And then it gets taken to a facility in Minneapolis where it gets sorted in a facility in Minneapolis again.
A: How often does it get picked up?
18:15D: It gets picked up Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. So four out of the five workdays it gets picked up. We are in the process of looking at getting a recycling compactor. So like our solid waste, we could compact our recycling and then send it out to the Twin Cities site less frequently so we could reduce transportation costs of our product, hopefully gain some finacial value in it by reducing the cost to us financially and also reduce our carbon footprint by not having trucks come up here 4 days a week but maybe having trucks up here twice a week or maybe once a month, which we would be something that we really be interested in doing.
DM: So with the compactor would you need to sort?
D: No, as long as we have the same vendor we're using the co-mingle. I know other vendors, they do want to have a sort of beverage containers and paper to be distinct.
B: Do you know the name of the recycling center we use in the cities?
D: I don't have that, I can get that to you. They're affiliated with Waste Management. So if you talk to Waste Management...
B: Probably the same company that they send the Duluth recycling to, on whatever days that is...
D: Yeah, our product is the same product that is handled in the same way that the Duluth product is, yeah, so...
B: Do know any ideas about the funding that the university is putting out for getting better waste management or sustainable recycling...
D: Mindy knows of grants and places, sources of money, and I'm not really familiar with all that. Depending on the value of the recycle comodity we have received in the past money for our product: aluminum cans, and our courgated cardboard to be specific, are the most valueable. But the market isn't very good right now so we aren't getting very much compensation for our product.
21:00B: So you actually get money for the recycling you give?
D: Not currently but we have in the past. Yeah.
B: Um... How much does it cost the university to do our trash, and then you said we get money for some of our recycling in the past but now we pay for the pick-up and whatnot. What is our budget for that? How much does it cost us?
D: Um... an estimate would be approximately $30,000 a year for trash and recycling. They come out pretty similar in how much it costs for each. The reason we started recycling in 1989 was because it was cheaper for to have our product to get picked up to take it to a recycler than to take it to a landfill. So the original reason was financial, as well as, you know, it's the right thing to do but at one point it was the most reasonable way of handling our waste.
B: Pretty much covered everything except we want to know some of what you think about waste management.
24:30D: I think that just about the most important thing you can do is just reduce the amount of waste that you create. Like, at the coffee shop here, bring your own cup. At the university stores, bring your own bag. Those little things add up to be a lot. So reducing your trash. If you look at the recycling logos, it goes Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. There's a reason for Reducing being number one, Reusing being number two, and Recycling as really being a last resort for your waste. We used to say think global and act local. So its the little things, changes you make in your own personal life here that really make the big difference in the long run. You can influence people by doing so and help the effort for reducing our waste in the long run. And of course reusing things is the next in line, so at UMD here we'll often have emails of where people will say we have this office furniture here, so if you want it come and get it, and so the universities office furniture, in stead of being disposed of it gets reused. So that's my advice for everyone is to reduce your waste. Bring your own bag, bring your own cup. If you don't need a bag say it to your vendor "I don't need a bag" and carry our item out, and things like that. And for your beverage containers or papers, make sure they do get into their correct recycle bins.
B: Our closing question for you is, In a perfect world, what would the waste management system look like on the UMD campus.
D: In a perfect world, we would have a waste management facility, say a building, where we would be able to sort our own commodity and try to broker our own product. So say our aluminum, we would be able to collect that and try to get the best price for that. So get rid of the transportation part of it, get rid of the middle-man part of it, and have our own product that we sell ourselves. I think the idea of having the recycling compactor is of great interest to me cause I would really be interested in reducing the amount of trucks that do come up here on a daily basis to pick up our recycling and our cardboard and such. So that to me would be one of the ideals here.. and then of course to have the cooperation from everybody making sure their products are getting to the right receptacles. Right now we are diverting approximately 40% of our waste stream to recycling, which is really good, but we would really like to be able to divert 60, 70% if we could.