After more than two years of planning, a university-wide recycling program is finally starting to spread around campus.
Scott Pohlson, chair of the president’s committee on sustainability, said after ending the pilot program in Slagle Hall last spring, they evaluated options for expansion over the summer.
One area of debate was whether the university should use the Missouri River Valley Recycling Center or take recycling to a single stream center out of town.
“We just decided that we just want the partnership locally because while that might make us more efficient, from all the research I did, I found that actual single source you do less recycling,” Pohlson said. “But there’s a view that because it’s easier and you can kind of throw whatever you want in there that you’re actually recycling more but in fact, what happens is there is more contamination and if there is a lot of contamination it just gets thrown away.”
The university currently has recycling in Slagle Hall, the Muenster University Center, the Sanford Coyote Sports Center and the DakotaDome.
Over the summer senior Scott Clabough was hired to remove recycling from the buildings.
“So essentially, I use the MUC truck – it’s a state fleet vehicle – and I go to Slagle Hall and I collect all the recycling from each floor. And then I come here (to the MUC) and collect all of it and then load it up and take it to the recycling center and put it in their corresponding bins,” Clabough said. “It takes me just under two hours.”
Pohlson said more student workers will need to be hired as recycling programs are implemented across campus.
“We need students that want to do this and we will pay them,” he said. “So if they have work study, great. If you don’t have work study and just have a passion, I think we can probably give five to six hours a week and you’re doing a good thing for the university.”
Vermillion solid waste director Bob Iverson said with the new recycling program, he expects to see more recycling at the center.In 2016, USD recycled 200,819 pounds of waste. The university is looking to surpass that mark this year – they’ve already recycled 181,793 pounds of waste since January.
“We have four months left, so they are well on their way to surpassing last year’s number,” Iverson said.
Pohlson said the USD community has been very supportive of implementing a program, and there are hopes for expansion as soon as next semester.
“I mean, everybody wants it. I haven’t run into one person that doesn’t want it,” he said. “Do they get frustrated with some of our processes at times? Absolutely, but overall everybody wants it.”
Depending on how the program in the MUC goes and how many students the university can hire, Pohlson said he would like to see recycling in the dorms next semester.
“If we felt confident enough we’ll probably expand to North Complex and Coyote Village this spring,” he said. “Now if we get a decent-sized team, we could expand it faster.”