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VU introduces improved paper recycling through Cintas partnership

Jun. 27, 2014, 12:04 PM

office recycle can

Vanderbilt University and Medical Center recently renegotiated its contract with Cintas, Inc., for confidential paper recycling. The new contract will result in lower costs and improved recycling options across the entire campus.

Vanderbilt has previously used Cintas Inc. for confidential document secured recycling containers to maintain compliance with important regulatory standards governing sensitive documents, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for patient health information, and the Families Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for student information.

With the new Cintas contract, employees can help further reduce institutional costs by using the Cintas containers to also dispose of non-confidential paper. This new recycling option also will have a positive impact on the university’s overall waste stream and the environment.

“If you have Cintas secured paper recycling containers in your area, please feel free now to place any kind of paper, confidential or otherwise, in these containers,” said Charles Nicholas, director of Procurement Services. “The bins are for confidential paper such as HIPAA and FERPA-regulated documents first and foremost, but any kind of paper, magazines or other paper products can now be placed into the Cintas containers. All paper securely collected from Cintas is immediately shredded, pulped and recycled to the paper mills, which further supports our commitment to environmental sustainability.”

By placing more paper in these containers, employees can reduce the amount of paper leaving campus in regular trash containers or in other regulated trash. Both other forms of waste disposal are more costly.

Thanks to past efforts, Vanderbilt recycled 1,471 tons (2.9 million pounds) of confidential paper in 2013 through Cintas, which saved 35,300 trees and kept more than 100 garbage trucks of paper from being disposed in the local landfill. 

Cintas has been tasked to conduct a fill rate study to determine optimal service frequencies to ensure the bins are as full as possible when they are serviced.

“Thank you to the Vanderbilt community for your continued support of this important initiative for the entire Vanderbilt enterprise,” said Andrea George, director of Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office.

To request a Cintas secure bin in your area, please click on this link to request service, or contact John Otis with Cintas at (615) 228-3575. To contact Nickolette Kennedy, purchasing agent for Vanderbilt Procurement Services, call (615) 322-3692 or email

For more information on Vanderbilt’s sustainability and recycling programs, visit the SustainVU website or email For more information on Vanderbilt Procurement Services, visit the department’s website.

Environmental impact estimates are provided by the paper recycling calculator available through the Environmental Paper Network.

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