Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

West Chester University’s Recycling program employs a “commingling” system for organizing and moving items. However, this method is neither communicated nor explained to West Chester University students and residents. A typical commingled collection is characterized by a weekly curbside pick-up through the Borough of West Chester. The specific collection entails the amalgamation of glass, plastics numbers one and two, (out of seven categories of plastics) bi-metal (food cans), aluminum cans and mixed paper which must be placed next to bins according to concerning recycling.

However, for private institutions, there are different stipulations. High-grade office paper, corrugated paper, aluminum beverage cans and clear, green and brown glass can be recycled. Plastics, nevertheless, are not included in this collection.

According to Meghan Fogarty, solid waste and recycling coordinator for the Borough of West Chester, the particular institution would have to call a private hauler to collect the plastics.

In addition to the fact that the designated private hauler is “separate from the Borough,” according to Fogarty, the hauler “determines what they’ll pick up.”

Nevertheless, if an institution does not elicit the aid of a hauler, the plastics would then be thrown away, according to Fogarty.

Furthermore, falling into the category of an institution, WCU employs the commingled system for recycling.

“When it goes to BFI, (the recycling plant now known as Allied Wastes located in King of Prussia) they need to separate everything out,” said Sandi Brown, storekeeper to recycling, moving and upholstery of WCU. Additionally, it is “not feasible” to do it separately in that commingling the items not only makes it easier to transport, but makes it “more cost effective in the long-run.”

Within most residence halls at WCU, the recycling containers are divided into three bins: one for mixed paper, another for glass, plastics and food cans and the last for aluminum cans. According to Brown, recycling issues concerning WCU are not within the responsibility of the borough. Consequently, WCU has its own commingled system that combines “glass, plastics numbers one and two, aluminum and steel cans.”

According to Brown, the recyclables are collected, and from Sykes Student Union, they are relocated to a “large, open-top box” situated at South Campus. Then it is hauled to Allied Wastes.

But the value of each item must be regarded–plastics, although included in this commingled system, must have a private hauler to collect them. Currently, aluminum is being collected separately on campus, according to Brown.

“We’re going to switch that around to have one bin to collect all of those items as a commingled mix,” Brown said.

According to Dennis Kryszan, manager of Grounds Maintenance at WCU, Galante Hauling is the private company that collects glass and plastics numbers one and two.

According to a representative of Galante Hauling, the company does not accept aluminum; however, it does accept the glass and plastics.

At the WCU campus particularly within the academic quad, there is only a presence of containers designated for aluminum, but not for plastics. These containers are located outside of Recitation Hall, Francis Harvey Green Library and the corners of Church and University Ave.

“Well, if there are plastics in there, it all goes to the commingle, but we don’t have any containers labeled specifically for plastics,” Kryszan said.

Yet, no indication is given to the members of the WCU community that plastic items can be distributed in the three containers designated for aluminum.

Needless to say, if all of these items are going towards the commingle, and WCU does not separate these items, according to Kryszan, and only Galante accepts glass and plastics, the measures and methods that Allied Wastes take to separate the recyclables are not specifically known.

“What they do with them, I don’t know exactly what,” Kryszan said.

Scott Marshall, recycle coordinator for Allied Wastes, said that one load of plastics was received for this year, and a decrease in the amount of plastics received from WCU has not been detected.

There is a tri-cycling system in Sykes; however, bins labeled for plastics are not initially visible. At Sykes, glass and plastics are grouped together. The reason for grouping these two together, according to Kryzan, is because “they all go out in one container-all glass, plastic and aluminum are mixed into one bin and hauled out of here.”

The point at which Galante intervenes in the whole process was not defined.

For those students on South campus, they are expected to separate their items into containers next to trash receptacles labeled for glass, plastics and aluminum.

All in all, the recycling process at WCU, according to Brown, was negotiated on Wednesday Jan. 31 at a meeting with Borough representatives. Possibly this will clarify the conditions and processes for recycling at West Chester University.

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