New measurement system for recycling in residence halls

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Marshall University’s Sustainability Department is encouraging students to “Be Marshall Green.” A new recycling process in the residence halls intends to push that initiative.

“They just put in a whole bunch of new recycling containers on each floor of the residence halls,” said James Baldwin, interim sustainability director.

Baldwin said within the last few weeks, housing and residence placed a new scale in Twin Towers East to weigh the recycled waste gathered from residence halls on campus. Pete Divers, head of custodial staff in housing, lead the project, according to Baldwin.

The sustainability department keeps track of the number of bags and boxes filled in the bins on campus, but Baldwin said he thinks it is difficult to have consistent measurements.

In order for recycling to have more success on Marshall’s campus, Baldwin said he thinks volunteering might have an effect. “There really needs to be a movement among the students,” Baldwin said.

“It’s really difficult on campuses because habits are formed early,” Baldwin said. Still, Baldwin said he believes Marshall’s recycling compares well to other universities.

“I think we match up pretty typical. Just around 20 percent of our waste is recycled. It’s really hard to break that barrier without a lot of intervention,” Baldwin said.

The Sustainability Department started in 2009 through a student initiative. According to Baldwin, a “green fee” was added as part of students’ tuition bills, which helps fund recycling on campus. Baldwin said the department consists of one full time staff member, three temporary staff members and 10 students.

Prior to 2009, there was no recycling on campus. Now recycling containers can be found in every building.

“Those are checked each day by custodial staff and taken to a central location,” Baldwin said. Baldwin said student volunteers empty the campus recycling bins every weekday.

“The recycling process is all of our recycling gets taken to Rumpke in Ironton, Ohio,” Baldwin said. “What they take, we can take.” Baldwin said recycling is often limited by what the central locations can take.

The recycling program encourages students to recycle rechargeable batteries, old cell phones and ink cartridges. These items cannot be placed in containers, but students can contact Baldwin to recycle them.

Lydia Waybright can be contacted at [email protected]

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