UI implements new recycling program

BY DORA GROTE | AUGUST 29, 2011 7:20 AM

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One toss in a tote will soon be all it takes for University of Iowa community members to recycle.

Starting Thursday, the UI officials will implement a new recycling system to help reach their goal of a 60 percent diversion from the landfill by 2020, as part of their Vision 2020 project.

“The new recycling system integrates a user-friendly process,” said Dave Jackson, the assistant to the associate vice president for Facilities Management.

Contracting with Waste Management, the UI will implement a single-stream recycling system. Unlike the current system, in which students, staff, and faculty must physically sort their waste materials into separate containers, the new recycling system will allow all material to be placed into one container, Jackson said.

Dockside recycle roll-offs and other City-Carton-provided containers will vanish from campus and be replaced with eight yard containers or a combination of 96- and 64-gallon tote units.

In addition, labeled recycling containers will be found in all university buildings. Because some materials are nonrecyclable and decomposable, only specific items will be accepted. Styrofoam and glass will not be accepted, Jackson said.

Student-organized ECO Hawk will assist in the launch of the program.

“I am excited for the new contract with Waste Management,” said Desire Christensen, the vice president of the group. “Many opportunities have opened up for ECO Hawk to educate the UI community through this partnership.”

Currently, all residence-hall rooms have individual recycling containers, which are brought to a central location when full. Greg Dirks, the manager of University Housing custodial services, said the only change students will notice is not having to separate their recycling.

Jackson said the single-stream material gathered by the university will be taken to a City Cartonsorting facility in Cedar Rapids, where the material will be sorted and separated into commodities for marketing resale.

The main goal of the initiative is to gain a higher volume of recyclable items and reduce the amount of waste heading to the landfill, Jackson said.

Jackson referred to Iowa as a “bottle-bill” state and said the UI will continue to collect redeemable cans and bottles separately.

Drake University has implemented a similar single-stream system, Jackson said, and Kirkwood Community College will switch over at the same time as the UI.

Those involved in the project expect to meet their goals.

“Our interactions with the Waste Management team have been engaging, and we have been able to bounce a lot of ideas back and forth,” Christensen said. “I believe we will exceed our goal of 60 percent waste diversion from the landfill.

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