Students question university’s sustainability

By on November 2, 2015
_MLM5657Megan Maher | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The resources and facilities section of Quinnipiac’s handbook states the university is committed to building one of the most environmentally-friendly campuses in America.

“As part of its overall sustainable plan, Quinnipiac is a single-stream recycling community,” the handbook states.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations Keith Woodward explained that starting in the spring semester of 2012, Quinnipiac officially transitioned to a single-stream recycling system, which means members of the university community no longer have to separate recyclables into different bins.

“The blue baskets located around the university are used to dispose of plastic products numbered one through seven, magazines, newspapers and catalogs,” Woodward said. “Examples of non-recyclable items that should stay out of these bins include garbage, plastic bags and food waste.”

After recyclable items have been dropped off in their blue baskets, they are then taken to City Carting and Recycling in Milford, according to Woodward.

The website for City Carting and Recycling states that they began their dedicated involvement with recycling services in 1990 with the opening of one of the first conveyorized fiber waste sorting facilities in the area.

Quinnipiac advertises itself as a very environmentally aware campus; however, with one look around the cafe one can see that there are no recycling bins, anywhere.

Students for Environmental Action (SEA) President Kyle H. Owens has noticed that there is no form of recycling in the cafe.

“While this may seem problematic it’s actually beneficial to the process,” Owens said. “A lot of waste (food scraps, dirty plates, the Pepsi cups, etc.) aren’t recyclable believe it or not.”

According to Owens, if there were recycling bins in the cafe students may be tempted to toss unrecyclable items into the recycling bins.

“Sure, single-stream means that various recyclables are sorted at the plant,” he said. “However, if too much garbage gets mixed in with this, the plant will have to throw away their batch of recyclables as it will be tainted.”

“SEA is currently working on a campaign to generate higher interest in recycling amongst the Quinnipiac community,” Owens said.

Sophomore Kayla Mistretta said recycling is very important and that she is disappointed by Quinnipiac and its lack of dedication to this issue.

“I did notice that there are no recycling bins in the cafe. I was surprised because that is probably the main source of recyclable items on campus,” Mistretta said. “I don’t think the facilities crew goes through afterwards and separates the recyclables from the trash. So everything probably just ends up getting thrown out.”

According to Woodward there were recycling bins in the dining halls in the past.

“Unfortunately it’s a consistent challenge. We find trash in the recycling bins frequently, so those bins have been removed,” Woodward stated.

Sophomore Rugby player Karee Helgerson and her roommates have created a system outside of Quinnipiac recycling to better the environment.

“We have created a system in our dorm where we have our trash bin and we have our recyclables, like bottles and cans,” Helgerson said. “And we just collect it all and recycle it ourselves for cash. Afterwards we are going to take ourselves out for a roomie dinner with the money.”

Helgerson does not think that the dorm buildings have an efficient recycling system.

“They have a bottles and cans bin in the laundry room, but all of that is just put into the dumpsters so there is no point in separating it because it all goes to the same place.” Helgerson said.

On the topic of bettering the recycling system at Quinnipiac to prevent recycling getting mixed with trash Woodward said there could be improvement, but that the university is doing its best.

“Could we be better? Sure,” he said. “But I think we are working very hard to keep recycling in the forefront of our students’ minds.”

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Year: 2018
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