SRU Waste Prevention confirms recycling program

Published by adviser, Author: Erica Kurvach - Staff Reporter, Date: March 28, 2013
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Some students say that the university does not recycle, but is this true?

Paul Scanlon, a special assistant to the President and a member of the Commission of Sustainability, reveals that this myth is busted.

Scanlon said that SGA Vice President of Student Affairs, Jim Henry, showed him a SGA Survey last year with questions regarding sustainability.

“There were a number of students who commented that they thought recycling was a myth here,” Scanlon said. “We found out that the new residence halls have dumpsters back there that look like regular trash dumpsters. The students were seeing the maintenance people throwing blue bags in there that they thought was a trash dumpster. Well, that company didn’t have all of those logos on the dumpsters so we went out and bought some of the logos to put them on there.”

SRU’s recycled and general waste is transported to Waste Management in West Sunbury, Pa.

“People had the misconception that they were just throwing away recyclables, but, in fact, they were taking those dumpsters to recycling,” Scanlon said.

According to SRU Waste Prevention, SRU has an active recycling program. Over the last three fiscal years, SRU recycled a total of 704 tons of recyclable materials. Recyclable materials include electronic waste, paper non-confidential, paper confidential, cardboard, cans, bottles, glass, and Facilities and Planning metal.  On average, SRU collects more than 200 tons of recyclable materials a year.

SRU also recycled 16 tons of pre-consumer food scraps from the dining halls. They also collect leaves to make compost that is used on campus.

In addition, SRU recycles dining hall cooking oil to make biodiesel fuel for their mowing equipment.

SRU has three long-term waste diversion/ recycling goals. They are to implement single stream recycling by or before 2017, increase waste diversion rate to 50 percent by or before 2027 and increase waste diversion rate to 80 percent or more by or before 2037. SRU reaches 50 percent at 392 tons and 80 percent by 157 tons.

SRU also recycles tires, wood pallets, toner cartridges and hard drives.

SRU also recycles to reduce tipping fees for waste that is landfilled. SRU is charged twice the tipping fee if recyclables are places in “trash” bins. It costs $99.75 plus a $10 environmental fee to submit mixed debris (commingled loads of recyclable and non-recyclable material) to Waste Management. They charge $79.50 for pure recyclable debris (more than 90 percent recyclable material and no plastic wrap, PVC pipe, roofing, painted/treated wood and insulation).

SRU plans to join the Recycle Mania Tournament which is used to motivate students to reduce and recycle through competition involving U.S. and Canadian schools. Recycle Mania, Inc. is a non-profit 501c3 organization that sets a benchmark for particpating schools to promote waste reduction activities in their school. In the spring, colleges report the amount of recycling and trash collected weekly over the course of eight weeks.

Week six results this year indicate Lycoming College and Mercyhurst are the two particpating colleges in the state. Lycoming is up to 100 percent recycling rate and Merchyhurst at 24 percent recycling rate.

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