– Delaney Pals ’18
Starting this spring there is a pilot program being implemented in Alumni hall that is attempting to reduce recycling contamination and increase overall recycling rates. In order to achieve these goals, there are no longer small trash and recycling bins in two of the seminar rooms. Instead, students, faculty, and staff have to go to the hallway to the recycling stations to dispose of their items. This is theorized to reduce contamination for many reasons. First, most classrooms only have one small waste bin and one recycling bin. The recycling bin in classrooms is meant for paper recycling, however, the recycling stream ends up being contaminated with many plastic bottles and cups. This does not align with our two-stream recycling program and ends up confusing people on what should be recycled where. When recycling bins are contaminated (for example plastic in a paper bin and vice versa), more often than not, the entire contents of the recycling bin ends up in the trash.
By encouraging students to take their items to the hallway they are then presented with all three options: paper, bottles & cans, and trash. This way items are disposed of properly and recycling rates will hopefully increase. These bins have been placed in the hallways where there is the most visibility and access, areas where students walk right by. This way people will pass at least one grouping of trash/recycling bins in the hallway and they will be able to dispose of or recycle those items there.
This pilot is being tested out in the two seminar rooms in alumni (431 and 432). Once the results from this pilot program come back it can be determined whether or not the program will be expanded to the rest of Alumni and, potentially, the rest of the campus. Let the Office of Sustainability know if you have any experience with these carry in – carry out classrooms and want to let us know how the pilot is going. Any feedback is appreciated as we try to find the best way to increase recycling rates and decrease contamination across campus!