Recycling program rolls into third year

Mississippi State's recycling program is growing and achieving important benchmark goals as it enters its third year.

According to university officials, the campus-wide initiative's success is due to the concerted efforts of students, faculty and staff.

Since the summer of 2010, MSU has provided comprehensive recycling on the Starkville campus, and from the very beginning simplicity has been a key component.

"We have been working to make recycling as easy as possible by turning people's wastebaskets into individual recycling bins so that they can recycle right at their desks and don't have to use a central recycling container," said the MSU Office of Sustainability's Jeremiah Dumas.

"Comprehensive, single-stream recycling provides an easy-to-use and cost-effective complement to MSU's existing waste management program," he added.

Extensive research and planning went into the design of the university's recycling program, along with valuable experience gained during a three-month trial held on campus, Dumas said. Initially, over a nine-month FY 2011 period, 306,628 pounds of recyclables were collected.

In FY 2012, collections grew to some 613,672 pounds -- an impressive 51,139 pounds per month, Dumas noted.

"We are excited about the increased participation in our recycling program. The increase in collection is encouraging," said Amy Tuck, vice president for campus services at the land-grant institution.

As the campus recycling program moves forward, the university will continue to monitor the process and make changes, when needed, Tuck said.

Most recently, smaller hanging waste containers were distributed on a trial basis in McCool Hall, home of the College of Business. That system is designed to provide personal waste and recycling collection points within an office, in contrast to the current system that offers a recycling-only option.

If the McCool Hall trial is a success, a wider effort will be considered.

"We evaluate and review our recycling procedures on an ongoing basis, and that helps us gauge how effective and efficient we are at reducing the waste that ends up in the local landfill," Dumas explained.

MSU recycles all paper and plastics, cardboard, metals and aluminum. The university also has programs that address electronic waste and hazardous materials recycling.

For more information about the MSU recycling program, contact Dumas at; the Office of Facilities Management Service Desk at 662-325-2005; or individual building representatives at the locations.

Jim Laird | University Relations

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