This summer, 16 outdoor recycling units were installed, most around the quad and the lower end of campus near the Scranton Commons and Kehr Union, this after years of apathy toward recycling on campus.
“This is just a start,” said Vince DiLoretto, assistant director of facilities at BU. “We are looking to expand this initiative in the near future.”
When asked when that may be and DiLoretto did not comment, but he did say that the he was working with Eric Ness, assistant vice president of facilities management, to find more funding for what he called “an important issue to focus on.”
Each recycling unit cost $494; the university spent over $8,000 this summer on the start-up.
“I’m pleased that [the university] has finally put the bins out,” said Eli Tome, representing the H.O.P.E. organization. “I’m not sure why it has taken this long…recycling facilities have ben inadequate for far too long.”
The bins that have been placed around campus make it easier to recycle than in the past. People can put plastic bottles, cans, and glass into the receptacle without having to separate it. DiLoretto hopes the co-mingling of products makes it easier for students to participate.
In the future, DiLoretto says the goal is to have each of the 95 trashcans on campus paired with a recycling bin. Along with Rich Yoder, grounds supervisor, DiLoretto surveyed the campus to see how much product was being recycled at each location. They both found that the containers were working, some more than others, but the campus community was taking advantage.
There have also been changes to Centennial and Hartline, the first two buildings in the classroom-recycling project.
There have been 48 new blue recycling bins placed in classrooms throughout both buildings, according to DiLoretto. He says this is a test, and that this too would be reviewed for expansion.
In the past, recycling bins have been placed in the hallways of all buildings, many in spots that are inconvenient for people to look for, said Jeffrey Brunskill, professor of geography and geosciences.
Tome, who works on educating students on ways to improve the environment through his involvement with H.O.P.E., says that this has been a goal of the organization for over three years.
“As a university, we should become a model of environmental stewardship by investing in clean energy for our facilities, conserving energy where possible, and demonstrating to students why it is important to think about environmental issues,” said Tome.
He was a part of a team of students and faculty in the Sustainability and Social Justice Living and Learning Community that did a study on campus recycling in fall 2009. The study took a look at five of the major classroom buildings: Bakeless, Centennial, Hartline, McCormick, and Sutliff.
Over 12-weeks, two times per week, the team scoured classrooms of each building and rummaged through the waste bins. One of the goals was to prove that although the recycling bins are in the hallways, the classroom is where the trash is being dumped.
In 24 days of collection, 2,300 plastic bottles, 301 glass bottles, 2,700 sheets of paper, and 46 newspapers were found. In a single academic year that equates to 14,400 plastic bottles, 2,000 glass bottles, 2,000 cans, and 17,000 sheets of paper, according to the study.
“We found out the classrooms were a big source of waste and that having recycling bins out in the hallways was nice, but not enough,” said Brunksill, who was involved with the study as well.
“I don’t typically make an effort to recycle,” said Eileen Dykan, junior early childhood and special education major. “If there were more places to recycle in more convenient areas, I wouldn’t hesitate to make the better decision and recycle.”
Brunskill envisions walking down hallways where the recycling bin is larger than the trashcan. He says the vast majority of waste on campus is recyclable, but that fewer than five percent of campus waste is recycled.
Brunskill has also noticed the blue containers in Hartline are working; he believes over 95 percent of the recyclables are being captured.
Tome notes that there are still a lot of classrooms without recycling bins. He says that this needs to be the next step so students have the choice to recycle instead of continuing to fill up landfills.
This article was originally published in The Voice on Oct. 11, 2012