One of the RWG's first initiatives as a group (summer/fall 1996) was to encourage a College-wide shift to recycled paper. The Procurement Services Department made this possible through a bulk purchase of recycled stock, which made recycled paper affordable. This paper contained 30% post consumer recycled material. Computing Services and Design, Printing and Mailing Services assisted the effort by running tests of recycled paper in printers and copiers on campus and assuring users of its acceptability. In a survey completed by Procurement Services after this initiative was in place, 85% of the respondents found recycled paper satisfactory.
In 1996-97 Dartmouth Recycles and Procurement Services changed the composition and specification on plastic bags that are used on campus. We have gone from 2 mil to 1.2 mil bags, and we have a closed loop recycling program with the bag manufacturer.
In 1999, the Office of Residential Life and Environmental Health and Safety collaborated on a thermometer swap, where students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to bring mercury thermometers in to trade them for a digital thermometer. A second swap was held again in 2000 and 2001.
The issue of certified wood was brought to the RWG in 1997 by Dartmouth student Jennifer Ratay '97. ORL, Procurement Services, the Facilities Planning Office, and the College Forester researched certified wood extensively and developed a project of using certified wood for new student room furniture. For McCulloch Hall, we purchased about 275 sets of furniture from a local manufacturer in Lisbon, NH made of wood harvested from Dartmouth land. At the Dartmouth Skiway, we used wood from the College Grant for the timber frame. Our own forest was certified in 1999.
Certified Wood Products
Conference tables made from College Grant wood are now available from Island Pond Woodworkers via Procurement Services.
Design, Printing and Mailing Services (DPMS)
The department uses state-of-the-art high speed digital devices which provide high quality printing at affordable rates and reduces the need for individual departments to purchase their own devises. When departments place orders for new copying devices, DPMS first makes sure that the department is aware of existing college services and the savings of not buying their own equipment. Digital devices that are available on campus further reduce waste because DPMS can charge the same low rate for small jobs and large jobs, and can store files, which allows departments to order only the number of copies they require (as they will not get any savings by ordering in mass, and they will be able to easily get more copies as needed.)
Since the RWG's initial push for recycled paper, new varieties have been developed which use a higher percent of recycled material and do not get jammed in copiers and printers. Several offices have tested paper with higher recycled content, some of which is 100% post consumer recycled material. Efforts are underway to obtain more favorable pricing on 100% recycled paper.
Carpeting on Campus
Facilities Operations & Management and Procurement Services are working on standardizing carpeting on campus, and Procurement Services recycled/recyclable products. This is a challenging issue, and we are pursuing carpet that is partially or entirely made of recycled material.
Facilities Operations & Management has done tests in campus buildings on a variety of manufacturer's paints in search of a high quality no VOC or low VOC paint that we can use in almost all interior applications. We found a wide range of quality in the products we were looking for, but we settled on a high quality product that is working very well, Benjamin Moore ECO Spec, NO VOC paint. The only places in which we still use oil based or epoxy paint are areas of very high traffic (floors or handrails), heavy moisture (laboratory and showers) and high temperature applications (radiators and steam pipes). The exteriors of older buildings are still painted with oil based products, but all new wood exterior surfaces are painted with latex with lower VOC emissions.
Efforts By Procurement Services
Procurement Services continues to investigate more environmentally conscious products. Low level mercury bulbs have become our standard issue and when they are replaced we recycle them. All printers, copiers, fax, and computing equipment are specified and purchased with at least "Energy Star" EPA ratings. We are working on providing a shade grown organic coffee for all dining facilities. We are examining the possibility of increasing the amount of post consumer recycled paper within our standard copier paper from 30% to over 50%. We are also examining the possibility of having this paper be manufactured without the use of chlorine. We have enabled, through contract, the recycling of construction and demolition debris as a standard practice for our contractors and staff. We have supported the creation of a volunteer group of computer experts that revive and upgrade older surplus equipment and then provide this equipment to local not-for-profits and schools. We also have established a buyer for used wooden pallets thereby getting them out of the waste stream.