Ramping Up Recycling Through Strategic Partnership
University of Findlay encourages students to “Love Orange, Live Green” by practicing sustainability. As part of their sustainability efforts and newly obtained funding through the Recycle Ohio Grant program, major improvements are being made to UF’s recycling program to increase convenience for the campus community and provide more education on recycling.
In a 2020 survey, 79% of the students surveyed said they recycle on campus. The 21% of students who do not currently recycle attribute their lack of participation in waste reduction to being unaware of recycling locations or being unwilling to walk far distances to recycle.
UF’s new recycling program will have two primary goals:
- To make the recycling process more efficient and convenient by installing durable co-mingle recycling collection stations around campus.
- To encourage the campus community to change their behavior toward waste reduction efforts, particularly recycling, through education, outreach, and increasing convenience.
Out With the Old
The University has recently made strides in achieving its goal of becoming 75% self-sustainable by reducing energy consumption across campus, educating the campus community on sustainability and recycling, and now, with high hopes of being a zero-waste university in three to five years, ramping up recycling efforts.
The current recycling program is, unfortunately, time consuming and inconvenient for University students and staff. It is also a common occurrence for potentially recyclable materials to become unusable due to contaminants or improper sorting. Orion Jones, director of the physical plant at UF, explained, “the inconvenience of the current system creates more waste to be thrown away due to patrons not wanting to go to separate locations for recycling.”
“Starting Sept. 1, we will begin a partnership with Rumpke Waste and Recycling as our waste collection provider,” said Jones. “Rumpke has the infrastructure to collect and process ‘co-mingle’ recycling. This means that we will no longer have to collect recyclables like plastics, metal, paper, and cardboard separately and UF personnel also won’t have to sort through it.”
The new program will involve educating students and staff on proper waste minimization and recycling practices, increasing recyclable collection locations around campus, increasing the efficiency of how the University collects materials, and improving overall convenience to encourage the community to practice recycling more frequently.
Recycling for All
The University will continue to provide educational materials and opportunities to students, faculty, and staff to encourage them to practice appropriate disposal methods.
On campus, multiple departments and student groups also plan to advocate “Love Orange, Live Green” and encourage others to take part in the new program. Areas that will be assisting with the new recycling program include:
- Findlay Green Campus Initiative
- Ohio Environmental and Health Club
- UF’s Habit for Humanity Club
- Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Program
- Sodexo, UF’s dining service
UF expects that this new program will not only result in a 30-40% decrease in annual waste management costs, but, because Rumpke is able to machine sort a large volume of co-mingled recyclables at a high rate, the University will significantly increase its ability to recycle a much larger volume of different materials with decreased difficulty for all involved.
The University is proud to be taking steps to become more sustainable. “We have already greatly reduced our waste expenditures since 2018, but this will significantly reduce the amount of trash that is going to the landfill,” Jones stated. “We will see savings, but, more importantly, we are taking the next step to becoming a zero waste and sustainable campus.”