Southwestern

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Sustainability

Eliminating Spray Paint

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    Adam Rodriguez lines the Robert K. Moses, Jr. playing field with the new system in preparation for a women’s lacrosse match.

New initiative by SIRA and Athletics eliminates the use of more than 1,000 spray cans a year

Southwestern has eliminated the use of VOC paints in its new buildings and now that initiative has been taken outside as well.

In the spring of 2010, Southwestern Intramural and Recreational Activities (SIRA) piloted a new way to paint recreational/athletic playing fields on campus that doesn’t utilize spray paint cans, which have been labeled as hazardous waste by the university’s waste management vendor.

The new field lining system is called the Pioneer Star Liner. Rather than spray cans, the system dispenses VOC-free latex paint from 2 ½-gallon boxes. The paint is applied by a battery-powered machine that resembles a lawn mower.

SIRA Director Derek Timourian said the new method costs the same as the old method, paints the fields more quickly, and is even easier for student workers to use.

When the Athletic Department saw what SIRA was doing, they decided to use the new method for lining all the varsity athletic fields in Fall 2010. As a result, Southwestern reduced its use of 18 oz. spray cans for field painting by more than 500 cans during the fall semester alone.

“This is a significant step towards being a more environmentally friendly campus,” Timourian said. “It’s an example of how new technologies can help us save time and money while also being better for the environment. It’s a win-win-win.”