Kent State students get creative with off-campus recycling

Ashley Purnell

Americans produce, on average, five pounds of trash a day, and college campuses are especially large contributors of waste.

Kent State is a single-stream recycling campus, meaning all recyclables can be placed in the same container. Recycling on Kent State’s campus alone saves thousands of pounds of waste every year, but stepping off campus is a very different story.

Not all off-campus housing complexes even contain recycling containers, making it difficult for those wanting to recycle.

“I sometimes just save up my recyclable items and take them home because I don’t just want to throw them away,” said Becca Martin, a senior theater studies major.

Martin, who is very passionate about the environment, also noted that she doesn’t just recycle bottles and cans. Shampoo bottles, laundry detergent and plastic food containers are all items she all will put aside to recycle.

For those housing complexes that do not contain recycling containers, there are other ways for residents to recycle.

“Recycling isn’t that hard, and it is definitely worth the hassle,” said Shelby Powell, the president of the Kent State Environmental Society. “If you don’t have bins, take your stuff to campus or take it home instead of just throwing it away.”

Campus provides recycling bins all over, giving students a place to get rid of their plastics, paper, cardboard and more. To learn more about Kent State’s sustainability program and recycling habits, visit their website.

“I also just want people to realize that the environment is not just plants. The waste we produce is ruining everything around us,” Powell said.

Trash gets taken to landfills where it releases methane, the most potent greenhouse gas, into the air. Recycling can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the need to acquire diminishing raw and natural materials. 

There is also the Portage County District Recycling Center in Kent, about a 15-minute drive from campus, where people can dispose of their recyclable items free of charge.

Through the Portage County Solid Waste Management District, there is a multi-family recycling program, which provides recycling containers for condominiums, apartment complexes and other multi-family buildings.

In 2017, this multi-family recycling bid was submitted and picked up by Portage County. This bid means that everyone in the county is paying for recycling pick up, regardless of if they acquired recycling bins from the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

“Having the recycling bins in apartment complexes costs money, but it will actually end up saving you money,” said Dawn Collins, the planner for Portage County Solid Waste Management. “Recycling cuts down waste costs more than what you are actually paying for recycling, which can save complexes a lot of money.” 

Off-campus housing complexes that do not have recycling containers are still paying to have them. More and more students want to help the environment by recycling, but have to go out of their way to do so.

“Anything you recycle helps,” Martin said. “It sucks that not everywhere off campus has bins because I know more people would recycle if there were bins everywhere.”

To learn more about the multi-family recycling program, visit their website. 

Ashley Purnell is the commuters and apartment life reporter. Contact her at [email protected].