Kristin Schrecengost – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa – Clarion University seeks to increase campus sustainability by introducing new single-stream recycling containers this week.
The new containers feature Clarion and Pepsi logos, with receptacles that illustrate the mixed recycling. The containers are part of an initiative Clarion’s facilities management began discussing last year as to how to increase recycling awareness across the university.
“While there are many areas of sustainability, providing proper recycling containers and increasing the level of recycling is an easy step to lessen the impact on the environment,” said G. Chad Thomas, assistant director of facilities management, in an email sent on his behalf by Tina Horner, Clarion University’s Communication manager.
Because the new containers are single-stream, students can place all recyclable items in the same container, making recycling more convenient. Advanced Disposal Inc. collects University recycling weekly.
According to the company’s website, they are proud to offer green initiatives in the form of single-stream recycling.
Advance Disposal Inc. stated, “No sorting needed – customers can mix all approved recyclable items in one container, eliminating the need to sort materials. Recycling is just as easy as using the trash can, so there is no reason to not recycle.”
The University will place these receptacles in high-traffic buildings around campus.
Horner sent out an email to all students in the fall semester to provide information about the new containers. Included was a list of recyclable items such as plastic and glass bottles, food cans and various forms of paper.
“The idea of recycling is introduced to many at a young age; however, there are many who don’t take it seriously until they come to school,” said Thomas. “The goal is that we can provide an avenue for those that want to continue to recycle and for those that are just beginning to.”
Other universities throughout Pennsylvania have been taking strides to raise awareness in their students and to encourage them to recycle. Slippery Rock University, in addition to recycling, holds an annual leaf collection, which they compost and use for campus beautification.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania recycles brush and leaves as well, and Edinboro University has made considerable effort to reduce their carbon footprint with solar array located beside campus.
Besides recycling, Clarion has been working on reducing food waste throughout the years.
“One of the big initiatives that we introduced years ago related to waste was to get rid of the trays in the dining hall. There was a noticeable difference in the amount of food waste because people were less likely to take as much food as they walked around the dining hall,” said Thomas.
The state system’s contract with Pepsi greatly enhances such initiatives. Pepsi provides an allotment of money to schools each year for use in projects related to sustainability and recycling.
“During the first year of the new state agreement with Pepsi, the funding was in place and discussions were started on how to best use the money initially,” said Thomas. “We felt that the first step was to increase the recycling awareness and the containers were a natural fit for this.”