Eco-Rep Green Corner: Green Changes Thus Far

I’m sure you’ve noticed the recycling bins in the halls of the academic buildings and in the residence hall trash rooms with separate compartments for paper or plastics, glass and aluminum cans. On Sept. 30, the Lawrenceville campus switched to “single-stream recycling” through Waste Management (WM). So you may be asking yourself; why the switch and what is single-stream recycling? Single-stream recycling refers to the system that allows Rider to place all their recyclables–such as fiber (newspaper, office paper and cardboard) and non-fiber (plastics #1-7) glass, and aluminum into a single dumpster for subsequent collection, processing and remarketing.

As a Rider community member, you won’t notice much of a difference in the collection process, but you still need to do your part by keeping garbage out of the recycling and vice versa. We will continue to use the same receptacles for all recyclable materials and garbage, but when collected the recyclables will be placed into our single stream dumpsters.  WM has stated that they’ve seen increased recycling involvement on average of 30 percent above those of previous programs. It also makes it easier for the rest of the chain to ensure effective and efficient recycling. Since everything is recycled together that means less dumpsters and only one vehicle to collect them. This equates to a reduction of CO2 and methane emissions, which are directly linked to climate change. Recent improvements in automated sorting and screening technologies have made it possible to cleanly separate a wide variety of materials coming from a single source.

In 2006, WM processed approximately 5.5 million-plus tons of recyclable commodities, thus saving enough energy to power approximately 1.6 million households and preventing the release of more than 4.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Next time you are about to just toss that soda can in the trash, think first. If recycled, it would save enough energy to power one television for three hours and a light bulb for four hours. Rather than printing that paper single-sided, switch to double-sided printing and help reduce Rider’s paper usage of approximately 100,000 sheets of paper every month (according to EasyPrint Usage Summary Jan. 2007). Each ton of paper used (200,000 sheets of paper, what Rider uses in about two months) requires 24 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 7,000 gallons of water to be produced. So if you have to print, at least recycle after it has served its purpose.

WM is committed to assisting communities like Rider in delivering lasting solutions to the environmental challenges our planet will face in the 21st century. As an individual, you are part of that process.

Lauren Clabaugh is one of the eco-reps chosen to represent Rider.

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