A campuswide recycling program at Missouri University of Science and Technology is paying off with lower disposal costs.
Missouri S&T’s annual solid waste disposal costs have been reduced by 30 percent, or more than $41,000 annually, thanks to the recycling program and other waste-reduction efforts, says Julie Wilson, S&T’s green campus coordinator in the office of sustainable energy and environmental engagement (OSE3).
In recent years, Missouri S&T’s Green Campus Committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, has received more than $31,000 from the Department of Natural Resources and the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District to enhance the campus’s recycling program. The grant proposals and creation of the Green Campus Committee were initiated by Dr. Joel Burken, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Dr. Harvest Collier, vice provost for undergraduate studies. Collier was the original director of Missouri S&T’s Institute for Environmental Excellence, and Burken chairs the Green Campus Committee.
The grants continue to fund campus improvements. The university used some of the funds to purchase collection vessels for recycling. The recycling centers themselves are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are located in various buildings across campus. The centers are located in Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall, Parker Hall, Toomey Hall and the Havener Center. Further investments included mini bins located in buildings around campus as well as desk-side recycle bins.
S&T staff and students monitor the progress of the program by conducting waste audits on a regular basis. Some of the audits are conducted as part of research and service learning projects students take part in through Burken’s course Solid Waste Management (Environmental and Civil Engineering 363).
Missouri S&T students and staff first began monitoring how much solid waste the university creates in 2009, says Wilson.
Campuswide, the amount of recyclable materials in the university’s waste stream decreased from 37 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2011. This decline in waste has led to a $41,538 annual reduction in waste disposal costs, even as the number of full-time students on campus increased by 10 percent during the same period.
Steve Malott, vice chancellor of administrative services and an active recycler in Parker Hall, has agreed to reinvest the money saved to expand the recycling program, which will lead to new recycling centers and programs.