Paper is the stuff education is made of - and Rep. David S. Ostler, R-Salt Lake, wants schools to recycle it. Schools also will be expected to purchase recycled paper products when feasible.
Ostler's bill, HB117, passed the House Education Committee Thursday after language was deleted that would have required onerous reporting from the schools.The schools will be required to adopt the same recycling provisions now guiding other state agencies. HB117 becomes a companion to HB130, which updates recycling requirements for government agencies based on a law passed in 1990.
Recognizing that recycling depends on market factors, HB117 allows schools to bypass recycling if the costs are more than 10 percent greater than the usual costs of disposing of waste paper. There is little opportunity for recycling outside the Wasatch Front, Ostler acknowledged. He said the primary impact of the bill is expected to be in a reduction of waste materials brought to Utah landfills. About half of all school waste is paper that could be recycled.
The bill had support from Aaron Jones and Rachel Greene, members of Hawthorne Elementary's KOPE environmental program. The students said they believe recycling companies will be willing to pick up paper if schools make the effort to save it. "Kids in Utah are worried about the future," said Rachel.
Doug Richins, state purchasing director, said there already is a glut of wastepaper on the local market, but he said the two-year effort by state agencies excluding educational institutions has been "a great success."