Recycling this newspaper after you read it

Recycling+bin+outside+the+USG+office+in+the+MUB.+

Tucker Nielsen

Recycling bin outside the USG office in the MUB.

Kiera Raymond, Lode Writer

Michigan Tech has been on the upward path to implement recycling efforts on campus. For more than a decade, the efforts put into place have helped students, staff, and faculty to recycle their waste at any point of their day. 

One implementation of sustainability is the recycling program in the residential halls. Dorm hall residents can have recycling bins in their rooms and bring their bins to the front desk of their respective halls. Front desk staff will take care of everything after that. Once behind the desk, the recycling from students and staff is put into one large 90 gallon bin at the loading dock behind Wads. It is then taken to a recycling compactor, and from there, Waste Management will pick it up and dispose of them properly. In October 2021, Michigan Tech’s campus had a total of 16.13 tons of recycled material.

Daniel Liebau, the Facilities Manager at Michigan Tech, explains what to recycle and where to recycle certain goods. Liebau says, “The university offers single-stream recycling for most consumer paper, plastic, and metal products. These items can be placed in the same container, or commingled, for collection and processing. Signage on or near waste receptacles on campus describe many of the materials that can be recycled, as well as items that cannot be recycled on campus, like styrofoam and plastic grocery bags’.’ 

When students are mindful of their habits and where their waste is going, it can help the campus and the surrounding community with waste management. Liebau states, “the waste diversion rate is the ratio of recycled material to the total weight of campus’ solid waste stream. Currently, the university has a solid waste diversion rate goal of 18%. The university’s monthly diversion rate for October was 17.85%.” With conscious decisions, students, staff, and faculty can help to achieve the diversion rate goal. 

In 2019 Michigan Tech received a grant from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy through student-led efforts, allowing for more recycling infrastructure. With this grant, the University’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Administration focused on “increasing the visibility of recycling on campus” with a sense of urgency. With this direction came the start of more bin-deployment, signage, and labeling all over campus. 

As students think about what to do to move forward, Leibau encourages them to consider changing their habits. “Think about your daily routine and the small changes that you can make that might save water, conserve energy, or reduce wastes. Consider a reusable water bottle or food container the next time you’re packing your lunch. Before leaving your room, remember to close that window and turn off the lights. Changes like these can reduce daily waste, but they may also have a measurable impact on the university’s overall environmental footprint and operational costs.”

Recycling efforts can be seen in every building on campus, with proper signs displaying what recyclable materials can go in each container. For more information on taking part of the green initiative, people can contact Daniel Liebau ([email protected]), Alan Turnquist, Director of Sustainability and Resources ([email protected]) or Larry Hermanson, Director of Energy Management ([email protected]).