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Recycling confusion

February 18th, 2010

Lack of communication among John Carroll University students, administration and faculty and staff could be to blame for the University’s negative sustainability reputation.

Last fall, JCU received an overall grade of D+ from greenreport.org.

JCU entered a contract with Landmark Disposal, based in Medina, for waste removal and recycling management in September of 2007.

The three main components of the University’s recycling program are green recycling dumpsters, beige general trash dumpsters, and two food compactors.

The green dumpsters are for mixed paper, newspaper, magazines, plastic containers and aluminum cans. The beige dumpsters are for furniture, glass and landscaping and construction debris. Wet food items can be recycled in the food compactors.

Landmark collects and removes the contents of the dumpsters from campus and further sorts the recycled goods at their plant. However, if the recycled dumpster has too much contamination, it is regarded as trash.

Director of Purchasing and Auxilary Services Andrew Fronczek said that he has received complaints from Landmark regarding an increase in contamination lately. He said there are three main potential risks for contamination: residence halls, dining services and housekeeping.

Director of Residence Life Heather Losneck said that there are some old recycle bins in the residence halls.

“They [the recycling bins] are used for trash since all the trash goes through separation at the plant,” said Losneck via e-mail.

Landmark, however, does not sort recycled goods from trash.

Neither Fronczek nor Carol Dietz, associate vice president of facilities, could confirm the number of bins located around the University for the purpose of collecting recyclables. Further, the designation of those bins as recycle bins was uncertain.

Fronczek said the bins were originally labeled with large, graphic posters that read “Recycle JCU,” but the bins had no color distinction from regular trash bins.

“Last spring we made an effort to relabel trash bins. How they stand right now, I don’t know,” said Dietz.

“Could we do better? Yeah,” said Fronczek.

He said he would like to see more compactors on campus but funding that project would be difficult.

Fronczek said, “If there was a strong desire to participate from student organizations, that would be a big help.”

Dietz, who said she is meeting with a few interested student groups in the coming weeks, said separate sorting bins for different recyclable goods would be a good idea, but the University needs the help of students.

“In the Dolan Science Center, faculty have committed that they would like to sort. We’ve had requests from the computer labs for bins for paper,” said Dietz.

JCU will rebid the contract for waste removal this summer, according to Fronczek.