Facilities upgrades campus recycling system

Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as disposing of six ounces of gasoline, according to the Student Aluminum Association. Recycling that one can, however, will save enough energy to run a TV for three hours, the SAA said.

Northern Kentucky University is revamping Project Green, a 15-year-old recycling program. Building Services has renewed the program this year to include cans, plastics and metals but also brought in more personnel and cans.

According to Charles Pettit, superintendent of Custodial Services, there are about 125 recycling containers on campus.

Pettit added that on average, about two tons of paper per month and one and a half tons of cardboard is saved. In August 2007, Project Green added cans and plastic bottles.

In the past, NKU employed three people to take care of collecting the recycling on campus, but with the new updates to the program, it now has five employees. These people collect items for recycling, shred paper, prepare the recycling for pickup and advertise the program on campus.

Although there has been an increase of recycling bins on campus, some students still have not noticed, said Michael Farris, a freshman sports business major. He said that even though there are a lot of recycling bins, he is not motivated to actually use them. “If I see a garbage can, I’m probably just going to throw something away rather than spend my time looking for a recycling bin,” Farris said.

Realizing that difficulty, Building Services instituted an experiment to help solve the problem. “At the beginning of the semester, we took trash cans out of some of the classrooms so that students would go into the hall and hopefully see the recycling bins,” Pettit said.

He said that since the increase in recycling bins on campus, a noticeable decrease in waste has occurred. Before the revised program, the Dumpster was often emptied twice a day, Pettit said. Now, he said, the amount of waste has considerably decreased and Dumpsters are emptied far less often.

Students living on campus have noticed that although there are more than enough recycling bins on campus, there are none in the residential village.

Building Services is currently working to resolve this situation. The plan is to install recycling receptacles next to the dumpsters and place bins in the residence halls.