Harvard’s recycling efforts have netted it an award from the American Forest and Paper Association, which is hoping others follow the University’s example and increase recycling rates around the country, according to an association official.
Kris Kiser, executive director of the American Forest and Paper Association’s paper sector, hailed Harvard as a good example of recycling success in a field — higher education — whose overall record is not so good.
The association cited Harvard’s generating 2,616 tons of paper fiber for recycling between June 2005 and June 2006. Overall, the University’s recycling rate reached 48 percent in January.
The association, Kiser said, established the award to highlight recycling success stories that can be used as examples across the country in an effort to raise recycling rates nationwide.
“In a nutshell, we want to collect more. We’re trying to raise recovery. It’s only through the efforts of millions of Americans at home, work, and school that we will meet our goals,” Kiser said.
Kiser said the industry has changed dramatically since the early 1990s, when the paper industry opposed any mandates that recycled content be included in paper products. Today, he said, the demand for recycled content is so high that there’s a shortage and the industry is actively seeking to boost recycling rates everywhere. Further, he said, the American paper industry is almost entirely sustainable, with virtually all new paper made here coming from trees grown expressly for the purpose of making paper.
Rob Gogan, supervisor of waste management who oversees Harvard’s recycling programs, accepted the association’s award on behalf of the University. Gogan singled out people in many programs across Harvard whose efforts make the recycling program successful.
“We have got building managers, custodial people, student advocates. It’s really about partnership,” Gogan said.
Thomas Vautin, associate vice president for facilities and environmental services, said the award is important because it reinforces the spirit of collaboration and partnership among everyone working on recycling.
“This bonds people together. No one person can do this alone,” Vautin said.