About 1.3 million pounds: that’s how much paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard the West Virginia University community recycled in the fiscal year ending June 30.
It’s an enviable number, but Mountaineers are ready to take recycling on campus to the next level. This fall, the university will transition to single-stream recycling.
Single stream recycling is a system in which all the different types of recyclables generated on campus, such as paper, plastic containers, and metals, are placed together in one bin. The unsorted materials are sent to a material recovery facility, where they are sorted by sophisticated equipment.
“We’re excited to be able to offer a more streamlined recycling process to our faculty, staff, and students,” said Traci Knabenshue, conservation specialist in Facilities Management. “Single stream recycling addresses some of our biggest barriers on campus, like knowing what items to throw in the bins and being able to recycle a larger variety of items, particularly plastics. Now we’ll be able to tell the campus that when it comes to recycling, ‘toss it all in one bin.’”
The single-stream system has distinct advantages for the university community. An expanded list of items, including plastics #2-#7, glass, and steel cans will be accepted. With the expected increase in recycling volume, the university will see reduced costs through avoided disposal fees associated with land fill waste, while also receiving a rebate from the sale of commodities. And the system furthers WVU’s commitment to sustainability, which dictates that WVU works to meet current operational needs while minimizing environmental impact.
The single-stream recycling model is one that’s being adopted across the country to collect and process residential and commercial waste. The city of Morgantown adopted a single-stream recycling model in January of this year and has seen an impressive increase in tons of recycling collected.
Universities across the country have also been making the switch. Single-stream recycling will support increased participation with recycling and will help minimize trash. The reduction of trash will allow the University additional flexibility with waste handling and disposal practices.
WVU crews will collect recyclables on campus and take them to contracted vendor Republic Services to be transferred to a materials recovery facility outside of Pittsburgh, where the commodities will be sorted and marketed. Cardboard will continue to be collected in marked brown dumpsters located at several campus buildings.
“Republic Services is excited to partner with WVU in its single-stream recycling program,” said Keith Koebley, Republic Services of West Virginia General Manager.
“Just as the university strives each day to achieve the highest standards, we take our role as West Virginia’s choice for environmentally sustainable recycling and waste removal services just as seriously. Our Republic Services team in West Virginia is looking forward to the partnership with West Virginia University.”
Throughout the fall semester, WVU will be switching clusters of buildings to the new system. Signage, advertising, a new website, and social media will also be used to educate users about single stream. Student and staff speakers are available to talk about the program to campus groups by calling 304.293.9500.
The new system also applies to WVU’s game day recycling program, which is held at university athletic events such as football and basketball games. Now, in addition to plastic and aluminum, fans will be able to recycle glass bottles in the Blue parking lot and plastic drink cups sold inside the stadium. More than 200 gold recycling bins are located around and inside the stadium, and parking lot attendants will also hand out kits to tailgaters.
CONTACT: Traci Knabenshue, Conservation Specialist,
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