Although the university’s recycling program has made significant gains since the implementation of a series of initiatives in 2008, key areas for improvement remain.
At January’s monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting, Councilmember Jeff Jones estimated that residents of ANC 2E, the district that includes Georgetown University, recycle only 25 percent of recyclable material.
However, Georgetown’s recycling program has dramatically improved over the last few years. According to the Sustainability Office’s website, a record-high 45 percent of total waste was recycled in 2010, marking a tripling of the 2007 level.
Additionally, only 15 percent of all waste on the Main Campus ends up in a landfill, demonstrating the university’s pursuit of a zero-landfill policy. The remainder is largely incinerated and converted into electricity.
According to the Sustainability Office, the recycling initiatives implemented in 2008, which resulted in the hiring of a manager and support staff specifically responsible for campus recycling, have been instrumental in updating sustainability practices. The staff has also placed recycling bins close to trash bins to encourage the Georgetown community to dispose of waste responsibly.
Megan Griffin (COL ’14), president of the student group EcoAction, said the sustainability practices of Georgetown students could still be improved.
“I don’t think students are making the most of recycling opportunities on campus,” she wrote in an email. “Many students probably don’t realize just how much Georgetown is equipped to recycle.”
Griffin attributed the deficiency in student recycling to a lack of student awareness, though the university holds events such as the Switch It Off Challenge and participates in the national Recyclemania competition designed to popularize its conservation efforts.
“If Georgetown educated its students on the recycling opportunities on campus, we could take better advantage of the system in place,” she wrote. “I think Georgetown could do more to create an environment where sustainability comprises an important part of the student culture.”