Gettysburg College recognizes the need to conserve and recycle its projects to save money and the environment and has therefore enacted several policies regarding the handling of campus waste and recyclables.
Gettysburg College has made great strides towards conservation, especially regarding paper. Many of these practices have been initiated by the Sustainability Advisory Committee. The College’s Payroll Department has dramatically reduced paper use by switching the payment system from physical paychecks to direct deposits. E-mail alerts have replaced paper slips at the Post Office, alerting students when they have received a package. Furthermore, Gettysburg College has contracted with IKON, the on-campus printing vendor, to use Domtar Forest Stewardship Council Certified printer and copier paper in all campus buildings and offices. To minimize the number of pages that students print, the majority of campus printers automatically print double-sided pages, and computers also ask for a confirmation for each print job, to avoid unintentional printouts. Professors are also encouraged to make assigned readings available online through programs like Moodle, to reduce the need for printing.
Gettysburg College teams up with the United Way of Adams County annually to implement the Give It Up For Good Sale. As students are leaving for the summer, they are able to donate gently used clothes, furniture, school supplies, books, food, and much more to the Sale. The College itself donates reusable office and bedroom furniture and appliances from campus, such as tables, chairs, and refrigerators. All donations are cleaned and sorted to be sold back into the community for a fraction of the original cost, while preventing tons of materials from entering the waste stream. In 2012, the sale received approximately 25 tons of donations and raised roughly $17,000 for the United Way of Adams County Community Impact Fund.
Additionally, the College often donates gently used furniture pieces directly to local organizations and residents. These donations, as well as the Give It Up For Good Sale, address a local community need as well as further reduce the College’s contribution to the waste stream.
Both the Post Office and Musselman Library provide students with free reusable goods to reduce waste generation. The Post Office provides reusable envelopes to students and employees to send mail to other campus boxes. Additionally, Musselman Library creates GreenPads, small notebooks made from single-sided waste paper in the library, which are available for students to use for free.
Gettysburg College implemented its first recycling system in the 1980s; over two decades later the campus’ single stream recycling program has successfully diverted tons of recyclables from the waste stream to be reprocessed into new materials. One of the major increases in recycling was brought on in 2006, when a student recycling intern determined that providing both trash cans and recycling bins in students’ rooms leads to a dramatic increase in levels of recycling. With this simple step, the College’s levels of recycling rose by 47% for comingled items and 25% for paper items.
Since 2009, Gettysburg College has implemented single stream recycling to further increase the convenience of recycling on campus. Single stream recycling allows for a wide variety of objects, including all papers, plastics, metals, and glass products, to be recycled in the same receptacle.
The College consistently makes purchases to reduce its carbon footprint, a goal which is perfectly reflected in its computer purchasing and disposal policies. Gettysburg College purchases computers that typically last for eight years before recycling. After a computer cannot function any longer, its functioning parts are utilized to maintain other machines. Only after both of these steps have been taken are the remaining portions of a computer recycled locally at The Computer Barn.