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ONU Recycling

Ohio Northern University’s quest to get greener took another big leap this week when 130 personal, office-sized recycle containers were distributed to faculty and staff. The new black containers and orange liners should make recycling simpler, improve ONU’s percentage of recycled waste, and reduce costs associated with refuse collection.

Click here to request a container.

Recycling is not new at Northern, but this kind of direct, office-by-office approach is. Individuals within each building can request a container in his or her office and fill it with the recyclable items encountered throughout the week.

That plastic water bottle from lunch? Recycled. Cardboard packaging from a shipment of office or laboratory supplies? Recycled. Stacks of old handouts? Recycled.

Once your container is full, simply pull the liner bag (also recyclable, BTW) and drop it into a larger, 64-gallon container, which will be conveniently located within each building on campus. Student workers will empty those containers into the orange recycling dumpsters where Allied Waste Services, ONU’s contracted partner for sanitation, takes over.

Besides being more convenient, this new program from ONU Business Services also makes recycling easier. Sorting is now a thing of the past. Everything that can be recycled (plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel) can be placed right in the same bag.

It’s all part of the effort to simply recycle more of ONU’s waste.

“We want more orange recycle dumpsters and fewer blue ones,” says Bill Kent, recycling coordinator for ONU. “If you look at it from a fiscal perspective, the orange dumpsters represent savings and the blue represent our costs.”

Getting the word out about the new program is important says Kent. In the past, someone might look at an empty plastic bottle and say, “It’s just one bottle. What difference does it make?” Now, the hope is that someone will look at a plastic bottle and see 130 more just like it.

Also different this year is the Recycling Counter, which will be available on the ONU Recycles! website. Allied Waste Services will provide ONU with statistics on how much is recycled each month. They also will put that number into context by equating it with easy-to-understand metrics of success. For instance, if ONU recycles X tons of waste in a month, that may translate to X number of trees saved, or X barrels of oil.

ONU Recycles! is a student organization on campus that has taken a lead in promoting recycling and environmental consciousness at ONU. Helping with this new initiative was a natural fit for the group.

“The ONU Recycles! students have devoted their time and effort for years to help with recycling efforts and awareness on campus,” says Jennifer Donley, faculty advisor to ONU Recycles. “They have put together educational and motivational recycling activities, hosted recycling drives for hard-to-recycle items, and spent many hours collecting recyclable items around campus before the recycling work study positions were created. They are an inspiring group of caring and hardworking students.”

Funding for the new initiative came in part from a $2,500 grant awarded to ONU from the North Central Ohio Solid Waste District. The funds will be used to purchase the 64-gallon bins and orange liners that will be placed in strategic locations on the first floor of campus buildings. Additional funding for recycling is provided by ONU's beverage contract with Pepsi Co.

To find out how you can receive a personal recycling container, contact Bill Kent at extension 2406.