UMass Amherst is an institution committed to reducing irresponsible waste of valuable materials. Comprehensive recycling systems are available campus wide and the University manages its own transfer station to accommodate all materials collected.
The transfer station was built in 1992, utilizing a structure that once housed an equestrian arena. The large space provides UMass with the ability to accumulate large quantities of objects to send off for process in larger loads, therefore decreasing the fiscal and environmental costs associated with transport.
In addition to commonly recycled materials like paper, corrugated cardboard, plastics and glass, the transfer station processes large items like fridges and AC units (which are processed to remove CFCs and then recycled as scrap metal), a huge assortment of computer parts and discarded media items like video tapes, 8 tracks, floppy discs and DVDs, to name a few. Electronic waste is shipped to a processing facility in New Hampshire that disposes of lead and other contaminants in a safe way and extracts valuable metals.
Mattresses, which are hard to recycle because of the many materials combined to construct them, are collected and shipped to Conigliaro Industries in Worcester, MA, where they are broken down completely and the interior elements are separately recycled.
Books that have been discarded by members of the UMass community and are still in good shape are sent overseas by Hands Across the Water, an organization that distributes them to third world countries.
A plot of land next to the transfer station provides the space needed to compost all yard clippings and other non-food waste compostable material. All food waste is trucked to a contained facility in Belchertown for process.
Here are some useful tips for UMass Recyclers:
- Don’t bag recycling items- put empty containers and paper waste directly into recycling bins.
- Recycle juice boxes and similar containers with cans and bottles.
- Clean pizza boxes CAN be recycled!
- UMass sells its recyclables, but pays for removal of trash. Changing your habits can save the university money