Recycling is One Step in the Journey Toward a Sustainable Campus

March 03, 2010

“Recycling doesn’t mean sustainability,” said Dr. Chuck McClaugherty, professor of biology at Mount Union, co-director of environmental science and director of the John T. Huston-Dr. John D. Brumbaugh Nature Center. “But it is one step in the journey toward a sustainable campus.”

Over the years, Mount Union as an institution has increased its amount of recycling. “We are indeed recycling more than last year, even more than we did five years ago,” said Blaine Lewis, director of the Physical Plant. “Physical Plant is picking up more recycling bags overall, but we haven’t seen a dramatic increase.”

Lewis explained that part of the problem is that some individuals on campus have been placing items in the recycling bin that are not recyclable. Some of these items include plastic bags, styrofoam, pizza boxes that still have leftover pizza inside and food in general. When leftover food and liquid beverages are placed in the recycling bin, it runs the risk of contaminating the other recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard and plastic.

“We (Mount Union) currently recycle 25 percent of our waste stream. It should be easy to double that,” McClaugherty noted. Recycling isn’t new to Mount Union. It’s just the way we do it is different.”

Mount Union has been working with J & J Refuse, Inc., a company based out of Canton, OH that specializes in waste collection, disposal and recycling services, to handle all of the institution’s recycling. Once the green bags make it to the recycling facility, employees at J & J Refuse separate the various types of materials.

“There are nearly 200 recycling bins around campus,” said Lewis. “We’ve been trying to put the bins in common areas on campus such as the Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center, McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, Hoover-Price Campus Center, various computer labs and administrative staff offices. It is my hope that we will one day have a recycling can and trash can in every residence hall room and in every office on campus.”

As Mount Union moves toward becoming a more sustainable campus, educating the campus community will be a top priority. In terms of recycling, identifying what should be placed in recycling bins versus trash receptacles is half the battle.

The following lists are materials that can and cannot be recycled on campus. 

Items that can be recycled on campus:

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Bimetal cans
  • Cardboard
  • Clear glass bottles and jars
  • Paper – newspapers, magazines, telephone books
  • Plastic

Items that cannot be recycled on campus:

  • Food containers
  • Plastic bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Containers that have been contaminated by food, liquid


For more information:

Contact Blaine Lewis at (330) 823-7365 or Dr. Chuck McClaugherty at (330) 823-3655.

To learn more about sustainability at Mount Union, click here.



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