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IUPUI hopes to boost recycling in on-campus housing with single-stream bins


August 15, 2012

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Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students moving into on-campus housing for the start of classes Aug. 20 will find something new: bins that are part of a single-stream recycling initiative.

Expectations are that the initiative will boost recycling among the 812 students in campus apartments.

That’s why the IUPUI Office of Sustainability sought and received a significant grant from Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Foundation for 305 recycling bins. Grant recipients were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on a number of criteria, including level of need, recycling experience and the ability of applicants to sustain their program in the future. The IUPUI Office of Housing & Residence Life will be distributing the recycling bins and recycling guidelines to each housing unit.

Single-stream recycling allows users to conveniently place all of their recyclable items such as newspaper, cardboard, mixed paper, magazines, glass, aluminum and plastic in one recycling bin. The items are sorted later at a recycling center.

“This grant opportunity allows us to achieve 100 percent implementation of single-stream recycling bins in each housing unit on campus,” said Colleen McCormick, director of the sustainability office. “This also coincides with other energy-efficiency initiatives, including the installation of low flow-shower heads and compact fluorescent light bulbs, in each housing unit, supported by Indianapolis Power and Light.”

The Office of Housing & Residence Life will track and measure the amount of material handled by the single-stream bins. The initiative is part of efforts to help create a sustainable living environment for students, along with the inauguration of a sustainability-themed housing unit this fall.

Deborah J. Ferguson, assistant director of the sustainability office, said the single-stream system is easier to use because it eliminates confusion about what can be recycled. “It should increase recycling.”

This is an initial step toward a goal of implementing single-stream recycling across the campus.