May 07, 2012

Grant will enhance campus recycling efforts

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A new grant will enhance ongoing recycling and sustainability efforts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Alcoa Foundation, in partnership with the national not-for-profit Keep America Beautiful and the College and University Recycling Coalition, is providing the University with 150 recycling bins.  It is part of a national program to expand recycling efforts and involves 32 colleges and universities.

Work is under way to place the 150 new SIU Carbondale can and bottle bins at eight campus buildings.  You will see the new bins at the Communications Building, Lawson Hall and Rehn Hall and soon there will be new bins at the Agriculture Building, Pulliam Hall, Wham, Altgeld Hall and Quigley. 

The new bins are being placed next to a trashcan in each location and at most spots, there are also paper-recycling bins.  The goal is to make recycling as easy as possible, according to Megan Pulliam, a graduate student in public administration from Pekin who serves as the University’s graduate assistant recycling coordinator.

“I am excited about the changes because now every hallway will have a trashcan with a recycling bin right next to it.  People will start noticing that the bins and labeling are more consistent and therefore, easily identifiable.  I’m hopeful that people will respond by placing recyclables and trash in the correct bins.  I think SIU’s recycling rate could increase by 5-10 percent just by making these changes,” Pulliam said. 

The bins will collect aluminum cans, #1 and #2 plastic bottles and glass bottles.  Southern Recycling will sort the materials; the company currently handles the sorting of cardboard, plastic, paper, books, aluminum and steel cans and glass bottles for the University.  The paper recycling bins will collect white and colored paper, newspapers, magazines and junk mail.

Another change is taking place at Lawson Hall in hopes of encouraging recycling efforts.  Staff members are removing approximately 30 trashcans from classrooms, necessitating everyone taking their trash outside the rooms where there will be recycling bins alongside trashcans.  Pulliam said there’s a dual goal here -- increasing the recycling rate and also limiting the waste that results when each of the small trashcan liners is emptied almost daily.  The change at Lawson is a pilot project and could expand elsewhere on campus if it proves effective. 

“Removing trash cans from the classrooms in Lawson should not cause any inconvenience to students or staff.  As it is, trashcans in the classrooms are right inside the doors.  With this change, you will find the cans right outside the doors so you will only have to walk an extra five feet to recycle or throw away your waste,” Pulliam said. 

Since 2008, Alcoa ( has distributed more than 100,000 recycling bins, including about 20,000 this spring.  The company also sponsors a number of other recycling programs and initiatives including the RecycleMania competition for universities and colleges with SIU Carbondale as a 2012 participant, taking third place in the Missouri Valley Conference and finishing close to the top third in the overall national contest.

Learn more about recycling and sustainability efforts at SIU Carbondale at