District votes to reduce solid waste and promote recycling
The Berkeley Unified School District Board approved a policy last week aimed at reducing solid waste at schools through recycling and other environment-friendly practices last week in a move that board President Terry Doran called “long over due.”
The new policy could reduce garbage pick up at various schools from three days a week to one, saving the district $2,200 per school per year, according to Yolando Huang, one of the proponents of the new policy.
Following the example of the city and the University of California at Berkeley, the school district resolution creates a comprehensive set of rules for reducing waste. From this day forward, the district must recycle cardboard, mixed papers, bottles and cans in every classroom, staff room and administration area. It must recycle construction and demolition materials and promote the use of recycled products wherever feasible.
Under the new policy, every district department with be evaluated for its effectiveness in meeting these goals.
“I have been hampered by the lack of a policy to back up my requests to principals and the maintenance department,” BUSD Recycling Coordinator Beebo Turman told the board Wednesday.
Turman, who became Recycling Coordinator in 1997 after she obtained grants to start recycling programs at various schools, said the district has a spotty record for recycling. Many principals are simply too busy to oversee recycling efforts effectively, she said.
At Berkeley High School, Turman said custodial workers have yet to receive training to empty recycling bins around campus even though they were supposed to be trained last summer.
Unlike the city, Turman said BUSD doesn’t even purchase recycled paper.
“We can reduce our waste by a huge amount,” Turman said.
Turman is applying for a $50,000 State Integrated Waste Management Board grant to install dishwashers and garbage disposals in John Muir and Emerson elementary schools and Willard Middle School.
A dishwasher already in place at Oxford Elementary school has eliminated the need for disposal paper plates and other paper products, Turman said.