House System simplifies recycling

December 30, 2010

When students return from Winter Break, they will be greeted with a new-and-improved recycling system in the House System. Beginning January 2, 2011, all recyclable items may be deposited into any recycling container on campus or in the dorms.

The House System has joined the rest of the campus in moving to single-stream recycling, which was first adopted several years ago by Facilities Services. This means that residents will no longer need to separate materials for recycling in the dorms. Any recyclable material – including glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and plastic – may be placed in the same container. Now, when students arrive on campus, they will no longer have to learn two different recycling programs.

"This move to single-stream recycling in the House System creates a single unified recycling system for all of campus and will go a long way to decrease confusion," noted Karen Warren Coleman, Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Associate Dean of Students in the University. "As a result, we hope this change will make it easier for everyone to recycle."

Recyclables must be taken to Houses’ trash rooms as usual; once there, residents won’t have to worry about separating materials into various bins. Materials will then be picked up by the University’s waste management company, which sorts and separates recyclables locally at its processing facility. After sorting, materials are then sold to manufacturers who recycle them into new products.

“When single-stream recycling systems are adopted, institutions and municipalities often see a significant increase in recycling rates,” says Colleen Lanier Christensen, Program Coordinator in the University’s Office of Sustainability. “It helps a great deal that people don’t have to think about sorting before they recycle and it often means that more people will participate or that those already participating will recycle even more.”

Currently, the campus recycles approximately 40% of its waste stream. With the help of students, staff, and faculty across campus, the University hopes to increase this number.

For more information on recycling at the University, see the Office of Sustainability’s Green Campus FAQs.