Finding an environmentally friendly way to dispose of bottles, cans, paper or even printer cartridges will soon be easier on the MU campus.
Campus Facilities is expanding campus recycling by adding 50 beverage recycling containers in academic and administration buildings. Each bin is estimated to cost about $125, for a total of $6,250. The student fee capital appropriation committee approved spending on these containers. Associate Director of Campus Facilities Phil Shocklee, who is also chairman of the Campus Recycling Committee, expects these to be in place this summer.
MU has receptacles in campus buildings for mixed office waste, primarily paper and cardboard. A few buildings already have bins for beverage containers. Civic Recycling picks up these materials weekly, although the recyclables need to be taken to the curb at some locations. MU pays Civic Recycling about $25,000 a year to provide the containers, trucks and maintenance.
In a separate initiative, the College of Education in May will begin recycling electronic support materials, such as printer cartridges, in addition to the paper and cans it already recycles.
Last week the College of Education committed $17,500 to hire people with disabilities from Alternative Community Training, or ACT, to empty recycling bins and take the materials to a central location, where either Civic Recycling or the city of Columbia will pick them up.
“There is a need for recycling campuswide,” said Janine Stichter, associate professor of special education, who proposed this program. “The point is to get more folks with disabilities that can be gainfully employed and address the university’s recycling needs.”
College of Education Dean Richard Andrews said that emptying recycling bins in Townsend, Hill and London halls currently falls to the secretarial staff. Hiring a company to pick up these materials will alleviate this duty.
ACT provides employment for adults with disabilities who could not otherwise find work. A group of three individuals with disabilities is accompanied by a supervisor, who assists them while working. These employees are paid at a commensurate rate, meaning that workers are paid only a percentage of the normal wage, determined by how their productivity compares to the average worker.
Ray Handy Jr., manager of community employment services at ACT, supervises recycling at Hatch, Schurz and Stafford residence halls.
These residence halls were chosen so the program could be tested in both a four-story residence hall and larger high-rises. Handy said that after two weeks, Schurz hall was added because the employees did not have enough work to fill four hours.
Other residence halls have recycling bins, but students and staff are responsible for sorting and disposing the recyclables.
“We started with residential life because we struggle with contamination in recycling bins with new residents each year,” Shocklee said.
Residential Life pays for ACT to pick up the recyclables. About $500 has been spent so far and $2,500 has been allotted to start the program. The group of faculty members who organized the program will try to secure long-term funding through various means, including grants. This group includes Stichter, Shocklee and John Humlicek, associate director of facility operations for residential life.
“This is an initial program; we are evaluating it and looking at its potential at the same time,” Humlicek said.
Humlicek said that a decision to continue the program over the summer or next school year will be made in the next few weeks.
Andrews believes that other colleges will follow the College of Education’s lead in establishing better recycling programs if the college’s recycling improvements are successful.
“I have no reason to believe it won’t,” Andrews said.