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UCOP earns 2010 StopWaste Business Efficiency Award

You deserve a pat on the back for helping UCOP cut waste and costs, but we all need to keep up the good work! Employee efforts – together with our systemwide leadership on sustainability practices – have earned UCOP a 2010 StopWaste Business Efficiency Award from an Alameda County agency.

“Through our recycling and compost program, we prevent about two thirds of our waste stream from ending up in a landfill,” says Sustainability Specialist Andy Coghlan. “And we’ve established an office supply reuse program that has saved the University tens of thousands of dollars.”

Chief Building Manager Roman Starno and Charlotte Strem, interim director, Physical and Environmental Planning, accepted the award from at a Nov. 4 recognition event. lauded UCOP for its continuous work to expand waste reduction and environmental initiatives, and for developing UC’s systemwide Sustainable Practices Policy. Our next goal is to divert 75% of our municipal solid waste from landfills by 2012. By 2020 we want to reach zero waste. Achieving these goals will require the continued participation of all UCOP staff.

OP became eligible for the Business Efficiency Award by participating in the StopWaste Business Partnership program. The organization offers free consulting services, grant funding and educational resources aimed at reducing waste, conserving natural resources and cutting costs.

Laudable accomplishments

UCOP would have never won the award without the diligence of staff, Strem said.

After a waste audit showed areas for improvement, UCOP received a grant from to put recycling and compost bins and related signage in all of the Franklin Building conference rooms, Strem said. Recycling and compost bins were already in UCOP kitchens. And employees put the bins to good use.

Thanks to staff, items like beverage containers, paper, cardboard, plastics, toner cartridges and more, are being recycled in large numbers. Employees also collect food scraps and compostable paper en masse.

OP has also adopted a policy to phase out the use of virgin office paper – a goal that we are already achieving 90 percent of the time, thanks to the efforts of our Strategic Sourcing group, Coghlan said.

Another boon to sustainability efforts – and the bottom line – is UCOP’s Reuse Center, where staff can get free office supplies or donate gently used supplies.

The free exchange has saved UCOP from purchasing thousands of dollars worth of office supplies, Strem said.

“UCOP probably never has to buy another Pendaflex folder or three-ring binder,” Strem said.

The Reuse Center, which is open monthly from 8-9:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month has a ready supply of both in a variety of sizes and colors, along with a range of other reusable office supplies. Read more about the Reuse Center.

Another of OP’s accomplishments is the Franklin Building’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building certification. LEED certification is an independent verification that a building meets the highest environmental and performance measures on such things as energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality and resource use. UCOP used the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) standard to systematically evaluate and improve operational efficiency, waste reduction and environmental health, Coghlan said.

“We achieved a LEED Silver rating in 2007, making UCOP the first building in Oakland to be certified under the LEED-EB program,” Coghlan said.

More sustainability work ahead

Sustainability is an ongoing effort. With staff help, UCOP will continue to improve its sustainability practices.

Similar efforts are underway on all 10 UC campuses, as they strive to meet the University’s ambitious systemwide goal of diverting 75 percent of waste by 2012, and 100 percent by 2020.

OP was instrumental in establishing the Sustainable Practices Policy. If UC achieves its target, the entire UC system will be diverting all of its solid waste from landfills by 2020, Coghlan said.

“It’s an ambitious goal, but one we can achieve if everyone works together,” Coghlan said.

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