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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003
It’s Not Easy Being Green
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In addition to recycled waste, there’s what Kirby calls “rock-bottom trash” — from food waste to mixed wastes that would prove too costly to sort. An annual 12 million pounds of this trash — an additional 32 percent of UCLA’s waste stream — is shipped to a waste-to-energy plant in the City of Commerce. It is “an environmentally clean plant that not only does not create pollution,” Powazek points out, but which, in the process of incinerating UCLA’s trash, produces electrical power for use in Commerce and neighboring municipalities. “Even the ash by-product of the incineration process, which comes to some 15 to 20 percent of the original weight of the waste, is reused,” Powazek notes. When water is added, it solidifies into a substance that can then be shaped into blocks and used in building roads.

UCLA’s recycling and waste-to-energy efforts add up to 53 percent of UCLA’s waste stream — 28 tons of waste diverted from landfills every day, 10,280 tons every year — about the weight of 24 fully loaded 747 jetliners.

“In difficult budgetary times it would be easy to wipe out these programs as a way of saving money,” Powazek says. “But recycling is worthwhile in terms of environmental impact on UCLA, on the L.A. basin and Southern California. We’re very committed.”

Says Kirby: “It’s the right thing to do. We’re dealing with our future.”

Adds Powazek: “When I go home at the end of the day and my kids ask if we recycle at UCLA, I can tell them, ‘Yes, we do.’”

Judy Lin-Eftekhar is a senior writer for UCLA Magazine.

UCLA CHURNS OUT ABOUT 51 TONS OF SOLID WASTE EVERY DAY, ALMOST 19,000 TONS EVERY YEAR. WHILE NOT ALL OF IT CAN
BE RECYCLED, A HUGE PORTION IS.

 

 

 

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