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New recycling program provides ease, efficiency

September 27, 2007

Recycling has become a predominant and efficient part of campus care at UW-River Falls. Gone are the days of separating out cans from bottles, papers from plastics. This semester UWRF has adopted a new form of recycling called single stream recycling.

This process involves putting all recyclables into one container, and then they get shipped off and sorted at a later time.

Ground Maintenance Supervisor Manny Kenny was a leader on the waste management board when they made the decision to mend the guidelines for recycling.

“The old way of recycling was not very user friendly,” Kenny said while talking about the tedious methods of sorting through recyclables.

According to Kenny, this new form of recycling will not only be user friendly, it should also increase the amount of recycling done on campus.

The new guidelines are essentially a combination of the old ones, but instead of separating materials, they can be combined in one receptacle. They have also added plastics one through seven as acceptable recyclables instead of just one and two as in previous years.

“Single stream recycling was not available in the past, but it is the future of recycling,” Kenny said.

The Waste Management board decided to convert to this new method of recycling this year since their five-year contract was up. During the negotiations single stream recycling seemed to be the preference, so that is why the change occurred this year.

“It was the perfect time to take this opportunity for the university,” Kenny said.

Sarah Knorr is currently the co-president of ECO club, which has been a substantial supporter of the recycling project.

“ECO is greatly involved in the campus and community,” Knorr said in an e-mail interview. “One of our main goals is to create awareness of environmental education for campus and all the public.”

The ECO club is involved with bringing awareness to the student community of the new recycling regulations, and it has involved the campus in events that can raise awareness and participation in the recycling effort.

“Something that is going to be very interesting this year is the Recycle Mania Contest that we will be entering into,” Knorr said. “This is a competition between UWRF and colleges across the nation.”

Last year the University placed somewhere in the middle, but according to Knorr, it wasn’t bad for the first year the university has competed. According to Kenny, UWRF is at about a 30 percent recycling rate, which is similar to other universities. 

“We are hoping to increase that number to 35-40 percent for our goal,” Kenny said.

Director of Campus Facilities Michael Stifter has also been a positive advocator of the University’s decision to diversify in its recycling efforts.

“Single stream recycling is a positive step in our overall recycling efforts,” Stifter said.

Stifter has backed this program from the beginning and expressed his interest in its success.

“It allows us to minimize hurdles and to hopefully make recycling easier and easier for individuals,” Stifter said.

This is the first semester that the new system has been in effect, and the real question is how well the students are informed about the new processes of the recycling system.

“I’ve not heard anything about it at all,” junior Danielle Kreye said.

It will take time for the word to get out and for students and faculty to become accustom to the new methods of recycling but Waste Management’s goal is to continue to increase the amount of recycling on campus.

“We want to take it to the next level,” Kenny said.