Recycling efforts to increase on campus

Jackie Valley

Blue recycling bins and Dumpsters are numerous on campus, but local groups want to increase their use. Scrap metal, ink cartridges and cardboard are some of the materials being collected. LESLIE CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

Each person generates about four and a half pounds of waste per day.

That number, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, adds up to more than 245 million tons of garbage each year. The United States recycles 32 percent of that waste.

Kent State recycled 57,410 pounds of material in October, Grounds Manager Heather White said, adding that about 45 to 55 tons of cardboard are also recycled each month.

“Basically, if you can recycle it, we encourage everyone to,” White said. “All Kent State buildings have blue recycle bins for all recyclable materials, such as bottles, paper, newspaper, magazine and cardboard.”

Scrap metal from on-campus projects is also brought back to Campus Environment and Operations to be recycled, she said.

Advertising by Portage County Recycling and promotion by the student group SEED encourages students to recycle, White said.

Jacob Hassan, an environmental scientist at the EPA, thinks it is important for colleges to raise awareness about environmental issues, especially recycling.

“I think it is important because an individual does have a serious impact on recycling,” Hassan said. “Recycling is helping future generations.

“As college students, that’s your goal.”

One campus program the EPA endorses is RecycleMania, a 10-week recycling competition that began in 2001 between Ohio University and Miami University, Hassan said.

Last year, 93 universities across the United States participated in the competition, including Youngstown State, Ohio State, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio Wesleyan, Ohio and Miami.

Currently in Ohio, Miami and Ohio universities are participating in this year’s RecycleMania competition that will begin in mid-January, Hassan said. So far, Kent State is not participating.

But the university is making efforts around campus that go beyond the basic recycling program.

At the end of the year, Kent State sponsors a “redirect and reuse” program called Throw ‘n Go, in which donated clothes, unopened toiletries, unopened food, carpeting and other reusable goods go to Portage County Family and Children Services, White said.

The Kent Green Initiative and Habitat for Humanity are currently sponsoring the collection of ink cartridges as a fundraiser, said Elizabeth Roberts, president of the Kent Green Initiative.

Freshman biotechnology major Ben Spott believes most students make an effort to recycle.

“I try to recycle in my room, but I think they should have more recycling bins in the dining halls because they are out of the way,” Spott said.

Spott said he has seen a group of students regularly clean up bottles and cans on College Street after fraternity parties.

Despite campus recycling efforts, freshman exploratory major Madeline Saraniti thinks students have to take the initiative to recycle.

“It’s just like anything,” Saraniti said. “You can’t force people to do it, no matter how much help you provide them.”

Contact news correspondent Jackie Valley at [email protected].