A few exciting additions to the University of Rochester’s recycling program have recently been implemented around the River Campus. The first is a “Package Reuse Station” at the Campus Post Office in Todd Union, open to all students or staff who use the post office. This station houses clean reusable materials such as: bubble wrap, packing peanuts, cardboard pieces, paper, clips and other useful items for assembling outgoing packages. Materials are donated from incoming packages and are then available for use in outgoing packages. The station offers a more environmentally friendly option to handle your mailing needs and materials are available free of charge! Campus post office supervisor, Amy Mirabella worked with Tom Calvert’s unit within University Facilities & Services to design and create the station in-house.
Another sustainable addition to the River Campus is high quality recycling receptacles produced by a company called CleanRiver. Two units are located in Wilson Commons, one in The Commons dining area and the other outside of Starbucks. The two were purchased as a pilot and results are positive, so more units will be coming soon. The product is called the Transition TIM Configurable Recycling Station.
One major benefit of this container system is that it can change readily when alterations are made to recycling programs. The container is one large shell with dividers within. These dividers as well as the lids on the surface can be easily modified to allow the University to use the same bins as our recycling program continues to grow and develop. Doing this is both economically and environmentally beneficial. Currently, the containers have three different sections for trash, commingled plastic, metal and glass, and paper. In the future when Monroe County changes to a single stream recycling system, the containers will be altered to have two sections equal in size; one for trash and the other for recycling. Another future use may be to incorporate compost collection into the stations and these transition containers can adapt to this change easily and efficiently.
Another positive aspect of the CleanRiver bins is that the company works with clients to develop customized signage to help brand individual programs. The signage on the University’s bins contains pictures of products that can be purchased from the nearby venues to make recycling quick and easy. The posters were created by Facilities marketing intern, Melissa Kullman. CleanRiver then worked with the images from the posters to create the backboard signage.
The last addition is a collection of 15 large, bottle-shaped recycling containers. Most are positioned next to vending machines throughout campus, to serve as a visual reminder to recycle beverage containers once consumed. In effort to increase recycling within the fraternities on campus, these containers were placed in the frat houses as well. The University won these receptacles from a grant entitled the Bin Grant Program which is instituted by two organizations, Keep American Beautiful and the Coca Cola Foundation. The recipients of the grant were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on a number of criteria including level of need, recycling experience, and the ability of applicants to sustain their recycling program in the future. President and CEO of Keep American Beautiful Matthew McKenna said, “One of the main barriers to recycling is convenience. Providing a recycling bin helps communities overcome that barrier.” Lori George Billingsley, vice president of community relations at Coca-Cola North America Group, also shared, “By increasing access to recycling today, we build sustainable communities for the future.”
This commitment to building a sustainable future is certainly shared by the University, demonstrated by the achievement of this award as well as the other exciting new additions to the University’s recycling program.
By Abigail Fagan, Class of 2014