SIU moves forward in recycling initiative

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has joined 32 other universities around the nation in expanding its recycling program by distributing new recycling bins around campus.

Plant and Service Operations, The Center for Environmental Health and Safety, and the Sustainability
Council have all joined efforts to improve the university’s recycling program. Throughout the week workers from grounds and the physical plant will place new recycling bins awarded to the university by The Alcoa Foundation in eight buildings on campus.

The Alcoa Foundation is part of a national recycling program designed to improve and expand recycling efforts on college campuses nation wide.

New outdoor garbage and recycling can duos are also being distributed throughout campus by Physical Plant Workers and should be finished by the end of the week.

Brad Dillard and David Tippy of Physical Plant were not available for comment as of press time on Tuesday.

Megan Pulliam, university-recycling coordinator and graduate student from Pekin in public administration, said the collaboration of departments is what has made the project possible.

“We all have the same goal, and that is to reduce the amount of trash the university sends to the landfill,” she said.

Pulliam said during the 2011 fall
semester, student workers went to every building on campus to take inventory and inspect the recycling and garbage can situation.  She said they found that in the absence of either, people disposed their trash into whatever type of bin was available, but when the two bins were side by side the recyclables and
non-recyclables were mostly separated

“Coincidentally after we inspected the buildings The Alcoa Foundation granted us 150 new recycling bins,” she said.

Those bins are now being distributed to the Mass Communications Building, Lawson Hall, Rehn Hall, Pulliam Hall, Altgeld Hall, Wham, Quigley and the Agriculture
Building. The bins will collect both plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans. In addition to that there will now be recycling bins designated just to paper products.

She said two weeks ago staff members
removed garbage cans from every room in Lawson Hall.

Pulliam said students were using them to throw away mostly papers and plastic bottles. She said she had heard of other universities having the same problem and finding success with the removal method.

Since the trash cans were removed, Pulliam said she has seen a decrease in the amount of mixed waste.

The university measures the amount of waste recycled by weight. Pulliam compares the weight of recycled materials to the weight of waste materials to determine the percentage of recycled products.

Pulliam said she hopes to see the amount of non-recyclable waste decrease by five to 10 percent.

According to the Plant and Service Operations website, recyclables are collected by custodial staff and grounds crew throughout the week and then they are taken to a collection point once a week.

Pulliam said the next step of the recycling initiative is consistency. She said she thinks the different signs on the bins confuses people because they are not sure what some bins accept and others do not.

“The recycling bins have come in several phases and my goal now is to make them all identical,” she said.

Pulliam said if the Lawson experiment is successful she will continue to remove single trash bins from classrooms in other building.


Ashley Zborek can be reached at
or 453-3311 ext. 268.

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Ashley Zborek

About Ashley Zborek

Hello, My name is Ashley and I am the Daily Egyptian's Online Editor. I started off at the DE as a campus reporter in fall 2011.

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