November 18, 2002

SNRC Discusses Recycling Gains

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At Thursday’s “Tree-Free Paper Workshop,” members of the Cornell Society for Natural Resources Conservation (SNRC) dispatched advice about how to apply paper conservation techniques in offices across campus.

The event, held in Warren Hall, was part of the seven-year-old organization’s ongoing campaign to eliminate Cornell’s dependence on trees by encouraging the use of recycled paper. To this end, they aim “to get a top-down commitment from the administration,” according to SNRC member Garrett Meigs ’04.

The first two speakers presented the case for conserving forests and expressed optimism about the ability of individuals in effecting practical change. Prof. Robert F. Young, city and regional planning, explained that conservation techniques could be economically sound as well as morally principled.

“We can shift our methods of economy so that we work off of the natural cycle, creating value out of it rather than destroying it,” he said. “Forests are more valuable when they’re standing than when they are a bunch of stumps.”

The following speaker, John Demos of the American Lands Alliance, put the role of SNRC in national and international perspective.

“You are all part of a bigger picture,” he said.

The movement confronts threats to the forest ecosystem. “80 percent of old-growth forests are gone. In the United States, the number is 95 percent,” Demos said.

Other presenters offered testimonials to the accomplishments of the program over the past three years. SNRC member Stephanie Juice ’04 related the success that the group’s success in obtaining support from Harold Craft Jr., vice president for administration, and Susan A. Henry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). They also expressed appreciation for the supportive resolutions that the Student Assembly and University Assembly, among other associations, have passed recently.

Juice reported further success in recruiting the assistance of the CIT Net-print labs, Mann Library, Gannett: Cornell University Health Services, the Cornell Center for the Environment, the ecology department and Campus and Business Services in converting to the use of recycled paper. She also praised the Cornell Store for marketing the paper so enthusiastically that it has proved “the most successful paper in the store.”

As a result of these efforts, Juice said, “we have saved 189 trees, 17,120 pounds of sold waste, 18,837 gallons of water and 24, 570 kilowatt hours of electricity.”

Camille Barchers ’06, another member of SNRC, announced more news that the presenters found promising. Earlier this week, she said, Staples, a major provider of paper to Cornell, agreed to phase out its use of unsustainable products.

Building on the theme of success, Al Heiman, coordinator of CIT Net-Print Computer Labs, related his efforts to introduce recycled paper to on campus computer labs.

“Now we use 100 percent recycled paper in all net-print labs,” he said.

Audience members responded positively to the program.

“It was well-presented. It seems so obvious as a solution; it’s ludicrous that everyone doesn’t do it already,” said Melissa Madden ’04. Madden attended the workshop as a representative for her job at 4-H, an organization that promotes youth programs. “I hope my boss will do it,” she added.

Archived article by Erica Gilbert-Levin