IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Tossing recyclables into expanded dual-stream system
CU-Boulder is expanding its recycling program and converting to a dual-stream system with the help of dozens of student employees who provide recycling outreach, collections and processing.
After a pilot program was successful at various campus locations last fall, the recycling system is being reduced to two streams that will accept all paper products in one category and all co-mingled containers in another. In addition to more types of containers being allowed, certain paper items such as phone books and magazines that were previously collected at limited locations now can be included in all paper bins on campus.
“Switching to an expanded dual-stream system allows CU to provide campus the convenience of collecting additional materials not only at faculty and staff desks but at all central collection points,” said Edward von Bleichert, environmental operations manager at CU-Boulder. “We are excited to implement this next phase of the campus zero-waste plan.”
The CU-Boulder recycling program was started by students in 1976 and, in part, helped earn the campus a ranking as the top "green" university in the nation by Sierra magazine in its September/October 2009 edition.
“Institutions like the recycling program and the Environmental Center are the reason I came to CU,” said Christina Gosnell, recycling outreach team member. “My job is supplementing my learning with not only training and skills that will be useful in the job market but work that I’m really interested in and that makes me feel good because we’re contributing solutions for sustainability.”
The recycling outreach team organizes events such as the annual Recycling X-Games and the Green Holiday Extravaganza. Currently, the team is charged with installing educational stickers and signage in buildings across campus to aid users of the new dual-stream approach.
“Our end goal is to make recycling the norm,” said Gosnell. “We want to make it so second-nature that it doesn’t cross one’s mind to send an aluminum can to a landfill.”
Von Bleichert said the more user-friendly recycling system will help the campus capture an estimated 800 to 1,000 tons per year of additional recyclable material that now is being thrown away.
CU-Boulder’s streamlined recycling keeps paper separate from liquids that could spill from co-mingled containers, producing a premium quality of recyclable material.
A bimonthly publication produced by the Department of University Communications
© The Regents of the University of Colorado