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Waste and Recycling

Recycling Program for University Waste

Gordon’s recycling program for waste is quite extensive.

  • Every member of Gordon’s community is expected to actively participate in recycling. Gordon’s recycling system includes a two color-coded barrel system located in the common areas of each campus building consisting of:
    • Trash and waste
    • Paper, bottles/cans, and plastic (Single Stream Recycling)
    • Techno trash, which includes batteries, CDs, DVDs, keyboards, monitors, etc.
    • (Gordon also has compost and metal recycling)
  • Gordon’s main recycling disposal center is located behind Lane Student Center in a large compactor. The Single Stream compactors are located behind Physical Plant and Lane Student Center. Individual dorms have areas reserved for student recycling.
  • Gordon’s commitment to recycling extends to a fine for people who grossly misuse recycling facilities or fail to recycle at all. A successful recycling program involves everyone on campus.

Additionally, B20 Diesel fuel is purchased whenever possible; fryolator oil is turned into bio-diesel for campus use and teaching opportunities.

Gordon also participates in RecycleMania, a friendly, competitive way to measure against other college and university’s recycling programs. The goal is to promote waste reduction and schools participate over a 10-week period. During that time, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

The goal is to get schools to recycle more but it also hopefully instills a lifelong habit in students who participate. Past surveys have indicated 80% of participating schools experienced a noticeable increase in recycling collection during the competition.

Gordon has put a lot of thought and time into solid recycling practices since 1988. Here is a look at Gordon’s Green History, 1988–Present:

1988: Programs for recycling and trash reduction began and the First Restore Creation Celebration happened during Earth Week.

1989: "Paper Only" bins were placed next to the Bromley trash shed and the HUD dorms.
The recycling program saved Gordon about $20,000 in 1989.

1990: Deposit areas for aluminum cans and glass were constructed. Dining Services made an effort to decrease waste and increase recycling.

1991: "Plastic Only" barrels were added on campus. Receptacles for the collection of high quality paper were added to offices. Gordon recycled 52 tons of paper in 1991 alone.

1992: Dining Services agreed to purchase more recycled products if economically reasonable. The Bookstore planned to purchase more recycled paper products and removed environmentally unsound products from the shelves. The Mail Room contacted catalogue companies and advertisers in an effort to cut down junk mail. The Print Shop began looking for ways to use recycled paper.

1993: Drive began for individual responsibility in purchasing recycled products. Biology Club, Student Environmental Group and GCSA led student efforts. An Environmental Studies minor was added to the Gordon curriculum.

1994: Dining Services eliminated all plastic except silverware. Gordon adopted a section of highway in the Adopt-A-Highway program.

1995: A tire recycling program began.

1996: Effort was made to increase student and staff awareness of recycling program. Dining Services began to use recycled napkins.

1997: Recycled paper was made available in the Print Shop. Steps were taken to reinstate former policies in the Mail Room, Bookstore, and Print Shop in regards to recycled paper use. Grapevine was put on VAX to reduce paper waste by 1,500 sheets of paper a week.

1998: Continual installation of water saving showerheads, faucets and toilets.

1999: Recycling containers purchased and placed in every student's dorm room for bottles, cans, and paper. Continual re-labeling of trash containers for awareness. A cardboard compactor was purchased to improve the collection and recycling process of cardboard.

2000: Universal Waste recycling program began. Gordon started recycling fluorescent light bulbs and batteries.

2001: Gordon began recycling CRTs (TVs and computer monitors), refrigerators and mattresses.

2002: Gordon added a container for metal recycling.

2003: Restore Creation teamed up with The Symposium week to continue the "Earth Day" initiatives. A panel discussion with faculty, staff and students, flower and tree planting, and trash pickups were the highlights.

2004: Gordon started a battery recycling program with buckets in every dorm. The Adopt-a-Highway program was cancelled by the state of Massachusetts. In response to this, Gordon "adopted" Grapevine Road.

2005: Gordon started an aggressive energy management program with the Bennett Center, the goal being to recommission every old building on campus.

2006: Gordon started an ink cartridge and cell phone recycling program. The Student Environmental Group became Advocates for a Sustainable Future, an official Gordon College club.

2007: Design Center started buying 100% post consumer waste copy paper to supply printers and copiers around campus. Energy Management systems in Lane, Jenks, and Barrington were recommissioned.

2008: Started composting in the apartments. Started techno trash recycling in all the dorms and have instituted "Green Cleaning" throughout the campus.

2008: Single Stream Recycling program was initiated. As of 2008, all recycling was combined into one waste receptacle. Began a "Green Cleaning" Program.

2009: Instituted a total "Green Cleaning" program, including chemicals, toilet paper, paper towels, and vacuum cleaners (new HEPA filters).

2010: Added composting to the Dining Hall. The kitchen now does Pre-Consumer composting. The composted products go to Brick End Farm in Hamilton. The director of Physical Plant added “sustainability” to his job title.

2011: Introduced a more extensive composting program throughout the campus. Students in apartments are able to compost.

2012: Work with Advocates for a Sustainable Future has increased to produce comprehensive Restore Creation (Earth Week) programs.

2013: Gordon was recognized for sustainability achievements by MassDEP. Administrators presented on our practices at the MassDEP annual conference. Energy Management systems in Philips were recommissioned.


Waste Recycling

Gordon’s toxic waste recycling is fully treated. Its organic waste treatment (garbage, discarded vegetable and plant matter) is partly composted. Inorganic waste treatment, including rubbish, trash discarded paper, plastic, metal, etc. is fully recycled. Gordon’s sewage is treated before disposal.

Waste Diversion

Gordon is committed to diverting materials from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, reusing, donating, or re-selling. 129 tons of materials are recycled, composted, reused, donated, re-sold, or diverted. 239 tons of materials are disposed of in solid waste landfills or incinerators.
Gordon strives to be on the cutting edge of recycling, taking great pride in its waste and recycling programs and encouraging the campus to actively participate. In fact, Gordon recycles approximately 35% of its daily trash. Here is a list of things Gordon does to promote good stewardship in this area:


All recycling on campus can be disposed of in one container. Any type of paper or cardboard; glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and lids (removed from glass bottles) are accepted. Gordon’s single-stream recycling and universal waste collection has been integrated across campus in public and personal areas. Pre-consumer composting has been utilized in the dining area and dorms with kitchens.


The College recycles computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, copiers, fax machines, phones, circuit boards, A/V equipment, cables, CDs, DVDs, batteries, and cell phones.


The campus composts fruit waste, raw vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, dead plants, and old flowers. Learn more about composting ➔


  • Freon system collection and decommissioning
  • Mercury-containing light bulb collection and proper disposal
  • Waste oil recycling
  • Chemistry Department teaches and uses "Green Chemistry" procedures in the classroom, reducing the amount of hazardous wastes produced.
  • Fryolator oil is turned into bio-diesel for campus use and teaching opportunities

Certain wastes (such as batteries, pesticides, cathode ray tubes, fluorescent bulbs, etc.) widely generated by households, businesses and industries can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) regulates these types of products under the "Universal Waste Rule." To comply with these regulations, as well as to help protect the environment and to decrease disposal costs, Gordon College recycles all of the following products:

Fluorescent light bulbs
Motor oil

Waste leaves Gordon at about 4 times the cost per ton as recycled products. Through recycling, the College not only demonstrates its collective commitment to the created world, it cuts waste management costs by thousands of dollars as well.


How much waste does Gordon actually produce?
View Tonnage Report (PDF) ➔

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