Reduce and Recycle at Texas U

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The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is the biggest employer in Galveston.  It retains 13000 employees and is the training facility for 2500 students.  Its giant campus boasts four schools, a Level 1 trauma center, six hospitals, a marine biomedical institute and a top-security bio-defense research department.  Because it generates such a high output of services, it contributes one of the largest volumes of waste in the state.Recycling, energy conservation and pollution prevention are a top priority at UTMB.  The sprawling campus recycles vast quantities of paper, metals, solvents, computer cartridges, fryer grease, x-ray film, motor oil, tires and paint.  Used PCs, cell phones, fax machines and other information technology devices are dismantled and disposed of according to environmental protection laws.  Re-use has a specialized connotation at the university where an on-line swap shop advertises equipment and surplus supplies for trade or free before sending them off-campus for proper disposal.Since then, the energy conscious program has blossomed.  The campus:•    composts•    recovers and re-distributes chemical solvents•    collects and refurbishes professional clothing for re-sale•    collects solar energy through mounted panels in the parking lot•    makes purchase decisions that reflect sustainable energy sources•    mulches Christmas trees for reuse as erosion control on local beaches•    provides vans to encourage carpooling for commuters•    permits employees and patients to ride the intra-campus bus free of charge•    uses chemical-free or low impact pesticides for insect control•    replaces mercury-based medical equipment with alternative sourceThe University began its environmental protection project using its own volunteer task force who were responsible for the operation of the pollution prevention and the recycling program. Not long after, the costs of such a large initiative began to accumulate.  A partnership was formed with Browning-Ferris Industries to off-set some of the expenses of dealing with the volumes of re-usable material.

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