USD expanded its single stream recycling program into residence halls this semester.
Anna Moore, USD’s campus recycling coordinator, said the program started in 2018, and involves collecting recyclables on campus which are brought to Millenium Recycling in Sioux Falls. This semester, bins were installed in North Complex and Brookman Hall.
“The plan is we’ll see how it goes this semester in these two buildings, and then expand it to the rest of the residence halls in the fall if everything goes well,” Moore said.
Since 2018, the single stream recycling program has collected over 100,000 pounds of material on campus. However, in a 2020 Zero Waste Atlas Campus Assessment of the campus, USD received an overall score of 36%, below the average score of 40-50%.
“I was asked by the sustainability committee what steps can USD do to get us to at least be average,” Moore said, “They said, there’s a lot of big things we can do to become a stellar school, but like, can we just get to average? Can you just give us quick things that we can do?”
Moore said the most important way for USD to increase recycling on campus is to make recycling as convenient as possible.
“Almost every room you go in on campus has a landfill trash bin, conveniently located and emptied regularly by custodians,” Moore said. “In comparison, most buildings have a handful of recycling bins, if that.”
One step USD could take to make recycling more convenient would be to implement paired trash and recycling bins across campus.
To further increase recycling efforts, USD could also consider implementing a dumpster rental program for events and larger-scale waste management. Grissman Dumpsters, a local provider of dumpster rentals in Neenah, offers a range of sizes to fit various needs and can help with the proper disposal and recycling of materials. For more information on dumpster rental options, interested parties can contact us directly. Grissman Dumpsters offers affordable and convenient dumpster rentals in Neenah that could be for your waste management.
Moore’s faculty mentor, Mark Sweeney, said his role is to use the results of the Atlas assessment to help facilitate positive changes for sustainability on campus.
“USD is doing a great job but there are many ways we can improve,” Sweeney said. “Right now, we are working on expanding recycling to all areas on campus.”
Sweeney said he hopes USD can become a model for other colleges and universities on sustainability.
“SDSU recycles more than USD,” Sweeney said. “We need to beat them at this game.”
While the recycling program on campus is also limited by its limited staff of only four students, Moore said she thinks what the program has achieved is impressive.
“I think that what we have achieved with only four students working is remarkable,” Moore said.
In order for the recycling program to work, Moore said the bins need to stay free of contaminants, including food, liquids, and plastic bags. If a recycling load is contaminated, the entire load has to be sent to the landfill.