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Library’s recycling efforts in the spotlight

By Sustainability Office on December 20, 2012

This month we would like to focus on the extra effort put in by the professional and student staff members in the library for recycling ~15,000 volumes of 499 journal and 715 rolls of micro film.

Many journals and other forms of print information have been digitized and made readily available online through databases like JSTOR. This renders the need for paper copies and microfilm records obsolete. So, what do universities and other institutions do with all those copies? Well, thanks to the efforts of Karen Johnston, Ian Woodward, Emily Hutton Hughes, Darlene Virgil, Lisa Wynn, and several other members of our fantastic library staff, all of our waste was handled properly.

Karen Johnston and her grandchildren

Karen Johnston (Administrative Coordinator to the University Librarian) spearheaded this recycling effort. Karen is pictured here with her grandchildren.

This project began last summer when digitized, infrequently used, non-image intensive journals began to be identified. A program called ITHAKA was used to help identify journals that could potentially be removed. A list of journals was then circulated to departments to ask if anyone wanted to keep the physical copies of any journals on the list. Some of the journals were donated to departments. Others were offered to print depositories like the Center for Research Depositories. However, many of the journals were still left to dispose of.

Our library staff looked for a recycling company that would assist with the disposal and they found Syracuse Haulers. Syracuse Haulers brought a 15 yard dumpster, complete with cover and lock to protect from weather and the unknowing trash depositor, to campus which the library filled within 2 weeks. They then proceeded to partially fill a second 15 dumpster. This process was much more labor intensive than it seems at first glance. Most library journals had been bound with a non-recyclable cover that had to be cut off by hand with X-Acto knives (NOTE: no injuries occur in the process of this recycling). The entire journal recycling effort took less than 4 weeks including the collection of the volumes from LASR, stripping of covers, and disposal for all 15,000 volumes.

The second phase of the library’s recycling efforts involved the proper disposal of microfilm. Our microfilm was determined to not possess silver halide, which you can actually sell for it’s silver content.  However, Empire Resource Recycling Inc has just agreed to pick up the microfilm and even offered to supply us with a certificate of proper destruction.

Overall, Karen Johnston said, “It was a whole lot easier than I thought!” That just goes to show a little extra effort can make a big difference. Thank you again to the Library staff for all the work you did!

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