-MaryKathryn McCann ’18
“Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” – an environmentally friendly saying that nearly everyone is familiar with, yet there seems to be a lack of recycling on our campus.
Over the last few years, Colgate has seen decreasing recycling rates. In 2016, during an annual recycling event Recyclemania, Colgate campus was recycling at a rate of 14.45 percent – the lowest average rate since our inaugural year of Recyclemania in 2010.
Residents in various dorms and apartments, as well as Colgate’s staff and faculty, were seeing a lack of recycling infrastructure and lack of knowledge about recycling around our campus.
In an effort to create a community where recycling is not an afterthought but rather an instinct, the Office of Sustainability instituted some infrastructural changes over the last year.
In the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016, the office interns noticed that the recycling and waste sheds by the townhouses had become unorganized. They devised and implemented a plan to revamp the sheds to be specific to recycling, and clearly mark areas for paper to be separated out from bottles, glass and cans .
This weekend, the interns will use this same model to renovate the sheds located around Parker, Newell, and Birch apartments.
Over the last few weeks, new recycling bins containing a separate section for paper, metals/glass/plastic, and landfill waste, were placed in various buildings across campus to promote better recycling habits. Many of these bins are concentrated in the first-year and sophomore residence halls, and will continue to replace old bins over time.
The office also just piloted its first recycling workshop as a part of the P.E. Passport program in an effort to better inform and engage students around topics of recycling and sustainability.
In order to ensure success for all of these initiatives and increase our recycling rate, it is essential that our students, staff and faculty are knowledgeable about what can and cannot be recycled. Below are some tips to remember while recycling on campus:
- Separate paper recycling from other recycling
- Paper products that are put in the refrigerator, freezer, or microwave are NOT recyclable
- Pizza boxes are recyclable but not the wax paper inside
- No paper products, bottles or cans with liquid still inside
- The “Bottles and Cans” bin isn’t only for bottles and cans – plastics labeled #1-7 are all recyclable as well as metal and glass
- When in doubt throw it out
- For more information visit our FAQ page or Madison County’s recycling web page.
If we all do our part to separate recyclables and landfill waste, Colgate will become a more sustainable and green campus. Our recycling rates tell a story, be part of the reason we increase them.