Revamping recycling on campus


The single stream recycling program will make recycling at Butler University more accessible.

The sustainability council was put together after the Butler University Sustainability and Climate Action plan was developed. Butler plans to produce zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, according to BUSCA.

“It is very expansive,” said Mckenzie Beverage, sustainability council coordinator. “It deals with energy, waste, water, transportation, purchasing and food.”

 The sustainability council is working closely with the green operations committee to make the university more efficient and eco-friendly.

“Our main concern is taking campus concerns brought to us by students,” said sophomore Paige Haefer, a green operations committee member.

The committee works to make recycling programs more efficient and better promoted.

“We are revamping recycling efforts on campus,” said Marisa Heiling, green operations committee member.

Beverage said she was interested in Butler’s recycling since she began her job.

“I started working here about a year and three months ago, and I wanted to know why we have such a low recycling rate,”  Beverage said. “Last spring I had my BI407 class do a trash audit.”

The trash audit looked at two dumpsters to visually see what was thrown away. Beverage said one-third of the contents in the dumpster was trash, one-third was food and one-third was recyclable goods.

The new program will allow all recyclable objects to be placed in one bin. The system provides bins for paper, beverage containers and trash.

This semester, green operations is looking at recycling bins in residence halls. The committee sent a survey out to students to learn why students are choosing not to recycle.

 “Stuff like this takes time, and I like to use students for all of it,” said Beverage. “The reason that I’m working at a university is to engage and involve students.”

The sustainability council and green operations committee are working to change the signage on the trash and recycling bins.

“The research tells us that we always need to have a trash and a recycling bin next to each other,” said Beverage. “It also tells us that we need to have not only signs on the front, but on the top and in the back.”

 The sustainability council is working to consolidate the trash and recycling bins. Paper bins will be commingled with other recycling bins. The bin consolidation will be completed after winter break.

 Glass is not accepted due to liability. There is a glass-recycling bin on campus located behind Schwitzer Hall.

 There will be another trash audit next semester to measure the effectiveness of the consolidation, Beverage said.

 “We’ve got this great sustainability plan that they’re hoping to enact here in the next couple of years,” Haefer said.  “I’m excited to see some of our work go into action next semester.”