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New Updates to the Campus Recycling Guidelines

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Ida Domingo | idomingo1@radford.edu

Radford University has decided to update its campus recycling guidelines for the 2018-19 academic year.

The sustainability Manager Josh Nease stated that “The Sustainability Office is collaborating with Radford University Recycling to spread the word through the campus community about these changes with the intent of increasing our overall recycling rate.”

According to the university, the updates to the recycling guidelines correspond with the Montgomery County Regional Solid Waste Authority. Nease says “The new campus recycling guidelines are a response to changes in the national and international recycling market, not something we did at Radford University to enhance our recycling program. The new guidelines include only one major change and this change actually reduces the types of material we can recycle.”

The new changes made to the Radford University campus recycling guidelines for mixed recycling are:

  • Mixed/Single Stream/Commingled Recycling: plastic, glass, metal, and paper together
  • Accepting Plastics No. 1 and No. 2 (Plastics No. 3 – No. 7 are no longer accepted)
  • Accepting all office paper, newspaper, magazines, cereal/paper boxes
  • Accepting metal – tin/steel cans and aluminum beverage cans
  • Accepting glass food and beverage containers

He adds, “The major change is that we can only recycle plastics that are numbered #1 and #2, and no longer accept plastics #3 – #7.  Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority, our regional recycler, no longer accepts plastics #3 – #7, so we have had to adjust our program to reflect this.”

The university has also added recycling tips to help students stay better at taking care of our campus and the environment. Some of the tips include no clothing or toys in mixed recycling and encourage students to use donation programs, no plastic bags in mixed recycling, electronics are recycled separately, and corrugated cardboard and pizza boxes must be recycling separately.

In addition to these tips, the recycling guideline encourages students to also pay attention to things that should not be recycled, Things such as food waste/liquids, dryer line, or sanitary items.

Sustainability and recycling are very important to Radford; the university has its own sustainability policies. These policies can be found through the university’s website under “sustainability”.

These policies are 1) Creating awareness of environmental impacts, concerns, and practices that preserve natural resources 2) Establishing sustainability goals & implementing strategies to achieve the goals and 3) Meeting or exceeding all Federal & State environmental rules & regulations

In order to stay committed to this policy and the new guidelines, in every residence hall, all students should have small recycling bins placed in their rooms to practice recycling and not only are they placed in your rooms, but there are seven new outdoor recycling bins placed around campus. You can find these new bins outside Preston Hall/Martin Hall, the Bonnie, Dalton, Kyle Hall, Muse, Starbucks and around the campus fountain.

Recycling only part of the plastics we consume creates a challenge without an easy solution. Nease states that “Either an economically viable way to recycle #3 – #7 needs to be created or we need to phase #3 – #7 out of our national and global supply chain. On campus, we can investigate ways to limit our on-campus plastics on only #1 and #2. Continue to recycle plastics #1 and #2 in our recycling bins and take plastic bags to the “Bags to Benches” bin in the CHBS lobby.”

Reflecting on his own experience, Nease continues, “Personally, I want to stop using plastics that I can’t recycle altogether. However, this is really difficult, for example yogurt generally comes in plastic #5, and I eat yogurt daily. So, I either need to give up yogurt or start making my own. Before I jump into either of those solutions though, I’ll spend some time searching for a yogurt that isn’t packaged in plastic #5.”

Photo Credit: (Ida Domingo | The Tartan)

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