Jamestown College resumes recycling program on campusThe Jamestown College recycling program is up and running again after it was closed down last fall when biohazardous materials were found in some of the recyclable material.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown College recycling program is up and running again after it was closed down last fall when biohazardous materials were found in some of the recyclable material.
Now the students and staff who helped start the college program are working to better educate everyone on campus on what can and can’t be placed in the recycling bins.
In October some questionable materials were found in the recycling bags collected from bins in one of the college’s resident dorms, said Michelle Solensky, faculty adviser for the Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students, the student group that started the college’s recycling program.
“One week there were biohazardous materials found while the recyclables were being sorted,” she said.
All of the recycling bins were removed from college buildings until a solution was found. In December the bins were put back in most college buildings, except residential dorms. Students who want a recycling bin in a dorm room may check one out from the dorm director, but only after completing an education program on recycling, according to Solensky.
“Hall directors and resident advisors have been trained in what is recyclable,” Solensky said. She and other staff members made up a recycling education packet available for students and staff as well.
Lori Listopad, director of residence life and new student orientation at the college, said her staff is in the process of finishing up mandatory information sessions with all students living in the dorms this week. These sessions include information on how the updated recycling program works.
“Once these mandatory sessions are completed, students living in the dorms will be able to check out a recycling bin,” she said.
Students must sign contracts with the college stating they will use the recycling bins as intended. At the end of the semester, the students must check the bins back in.
Listopad said students will empty their bins into a large recycling bin placed in each dorm on a weekly basis. The dorm staff then bags up the recyclable material, and puts the bags out in front of the dorm building where the college’s physical plant staff collects them each Wednesday and takes them to the Jamestown Recycling Center, owned by Renaissance Recycling.
Listopad said a physical plant employee goes over to the recycling center each Wednesday to monitor the sorting of the material.
The recycling bins now have either blue or green colored liners to differentiate them from garbage can liners. Solensky said before clear liners were used for garbage and recycling. The liners for recyclable material were labeled “recycling.”
Solensky said it is important the college continue to have the recycling program to show people in the area that something like this can work.
Kayla Byle, treasurer of ECOS, said any expansion of the program to include more materials like light bulbs and batteries would be a benefit to the college and Jamestown community. But, education is an important first step.
“As it stands currently we need to provide education on the importance of recycling what we can and how to do that appropriately,” she said.
Byle said she was very sorry for the people who had to deal with the mess.
“It is kind of hard to believe that anyone would blatantly place garbage, and especially the type of garbage found, into a recycling bin that required hand sorting, just to save a 50-yard walk that they would probably have to make eventually, anyway,” she said.
Materials found in October 2012 included vomit, an adult diaper, food, a substance that looked like feces and plastic pop bottles filled with liquid.
“We think this was the actions of a few irresponsible students,” Solensky said.
She said part of the problem was that the college had expanded its recycling program and placed recycling bins inside the dorms. This move made it easier for students to dump non-recyclable items in the bins rather than walk outside to the Dumpsters.
Solensky found out about the biohazardous material after the manager of the Jamestown Recycling Center called her. She stopped all activity with the program and the bins were removed from all the college buildings.
“I didn’t want to lose the relationship with the recycling center,” she said.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com