After five weeks, the pilot recycling program in Slagle Hall has ended.
Scott Pohlson, chair of the president’s committee on sustainability, said a 35 percent satisfaction with recycling at the beginning of the pilot improved to an 80 percent satisfaction rate by the end of the program.
With the success of the pilot in Slagle Hall, Pohlson said the program will be moving to the Muenster University Center and some residence halls next fall.
“There were two parts to the pilot. One is to see if we could do it, which we definitely can, but the second piece of it is how we do that,” he said. “We are going to go to the MUC, North Complex and then probably Coyote Village, and of course those are highly populated student areas so we want to make sure that students are involved.”
The pilot programs will start over the summer when there’s less traffic. Pohlson said the committee hopes students can take over the program in the fall.
“There would be a sustainability scholarship that would go with this and we want eight to 10 students,” Pohlson said.
While participants in the program were excited to recycle, the program had its challenges. Pohlson said a lot of participants struggled with having their office trash cans removed.
“We started with no trash cans (in offices) and then we got… some decent feedback that that was really frustrating because if you have a cold, and Kleenexes and that sort of thing, then they were bringing in Wal-Mart bags or Hy-Vee bags, so we brought the trash cans back,” he said.
Ellen Hoyne, Jessica Preister and Lindsay Hayes, who all work in Slagle, said having garbage cans removed from their offices took some getting used to.
“I liked it. Not having a trash can made me walk down the hall to throw my trash away,” said Hoyne, senior secretary of the office of research. “It also made me a lot more aware of all the trash I would produce in a day. And so I think now that we have our trash cans back I’m a lot more cognizant of the fact that I am producing trash constantly.”
Priester, an internal auditor, said she was shocked to find out the previous recycling wasn’t actually going to the recycling center.
“I was open to the idea, I think it’s a good idea to recycle… we had recycling bins before, but I wasn’t aware that the product wasn’t actually making it to the recycling center,” she said.
Hayes, the coordinator of student and institutional assessment, admitted she was excited to get her garbage can back.
“Immediately it was a little bit hard. It was cold and flu season, having to walk out to the hall to throw away a Kleenex wasn’t always the easiest thing to do,” Hayes said. “But many of us made due with makeshift trash receptacles for that time, but then when we got them back it was a little celebration.”
Overall, Pohlson said the program went well and the committee is excited to go “all-in” across campus.
Students can expect to see recycling bins and educational material next fall.
“We still have some improvements. I mean we have to do it, so of course we were pleased because we’re doing it” Pohlson said. “Are we perfect yet? No, but we’re getting there.”