Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events
By Eric Weld   Date: 3/10/09

Full Circle—A Smith Recycling Story

A 12-inch-thick layer of cellulose insulation was recently applied to the floor of the Neilson Library attic.

From Smith to Belchertown and back to Smith.

That was the path recently taken by hundreds of unread newspapers that had been delivered to Smith. The newspapers, left unclaimed on campus stands, were delivered, via paper recycling brokers, to a company called National Fiber, an insulation manufacturer in nearby Belchertown, Mass.

A few weeks ago, those newspapers came back to campus in the form of cellulose insulation when a company named Celluspray, which purchases its product from National Fiber, applied a 12-inch-thick layer of the material in the Neilson Library attic.

“This is sustainability in action,” said Dano Weisbord, environmental sustainability director. “We improved the efficiency of Neilson by using a product made from a waste stream. As a result of this project, Smith will consume less fuel, emit less carbon, and save money.”

The ceiling above the 1936 addition to Neilson Library was full of holes into the attic as a result of renovations and systems upgrades over the years, said project manager Gary Hartwell. Spanning a space of about 6,500 square feet, the attic had had a layer of loose fiberglass insulation, originally about 6 inches thick. But as a result of decades of projects and service, the insulation was matted and full of holes, or missing altogether.

The holes were allowing conditioned air to escape into the unheated and uncooled attic. Celluspray filled the holes before installing the cellulose insulation.

The cellulose insulation made with discarded newspapers and other materials is a superior product to fiberglass, noted Hartwell. It is a denser material, and fills voids more efficiently. Furthermore, he added, “fiberglass takes a lot more energy to produce, is not a recycled product, and is an irritant.”

Everyone wins in this recycling story, said Weisbord. “We’ve saved energy, supported a local business and helped divert materials from the landfill. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z