West Chester University has “gone green” for close to 20 years, and the University recycling program has evolved a great deal. The evolvement was caused by an increase in awareness and excitement of recycling by the university community.
According to a letter sent to students at the start of the program in February 2008, the program in the traditional residence halls on campus works with recycling program staff. The staff pick up students’ mixed paper and commingled recyclables and transport them to a central location on campus.
Mixed paper recyclables include items such as clean and dry office paper, glossy paper, file and manila folders, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, phonebooks and catalogs. However, cardboard or hardcover books are not allowed.
Students are asked to place these items into the blue recycle bins, centrally located on every floor of each building on campus.
Clean and dry cardboard products should be flattened and placed next to the blue bins. Pizza boxes or any other dirty cardboard products are not allowed.
Besides cardboard and hardcover books, air freight envelopes, restroom and kitchen waste, metal and plastic binders, waxed paper and Styrofoam packing materials are also not permitted and should be disposed of in the regular trash can.
Commingle recyclable products include glass and plastics. If students wish to recycle glass, plastics, aluminum cans or food cans they can do so by placing items in the blue bins labeled for commingle recyclables located on each floor of each building on campus.
Also, students are now allowed to recycle all types of plastics, as long as the container is rinsed before recycling.
According to the website operated by the West Chester University Facilities division, this new program will benefit both the students who attend WCU and the university itself.
Recycling will benefit the university by saving money. The program will greatly reduce the amount of garbage sent to landfills, and burying those excessive amounts of garbage costs a lot of money.
Students will benefit by attending a school in a much cleaner environment. Also, the program will provide a learning experience for students about recycling. According to the website, the program aims for students to rethink the way they consume and dispose of materials.
The university believes that in order to do so, the person who uses the materials should be responsible for their disposal. They hope students will question the amount of materials they use and find recyclable alternatives for disposable materials.
The university believes if students take these actions there will be a decrease in waste and an increase in recyclable materials.
Royston Gathings, the Director of Administrative and Logistical Services, commented on the prominence of the program.
“It re-uses materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. This saves the money we would have to pay to the landfill to receive it as waste. It also saves energy and avoids effluents emitted into the air,” he said.
“For example, it takes a lot less energy to melt down an aluminum can and make another one out of it than it does to make aluminum from ore.”
According to a recycling report found on the university website updated in April 2009, there has been a lot more recycling happening on campus.
In 2007, 121.42 tons of waste was recycled, and the following year the number jumped to 224.34 tons. In turn landfill waste was greatly reduced. In 2007 there was 1792.82 tons of landfill waste and in 2008 there was 1677.34 tons.
“From an educational standpoint, recycling is the first step in getting people to understand and commit to the importance of a sustainable earth,” said Gathings.
Samantha Greenberg is a third-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at SG655862@wcupa.edu.